Definition of prevail in English:

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Pronunciation: /prəˈvāl/


[no object]
1Prove more powerful than opposing forces; be victorious: it is hard for logic to prevail over emotion
More example sentences
  • Your nation endured the blitz to prevail over an implacable foe.
  • What is to be gained by letting egos prevail over common sense?
  • Rapoport presents this method as a means to help one to prevail over an opponent in an argument.
win, win out/through, triumph, be victorious, carry the day, come out on top, succeed, prove superior, conquer, overcome;
rule, reign
1.1Be widespread in a particular area at a particular time; be current: an atmosphere of crisis prevails
More example sentences
  • But they warned that if no rain falls within the next two months, a crisis might prevail in the area.
  • The family home we stayed in was small, basic, clean and with a very friendly atmosphere prevailing.
  • Cuba will make every effort to preserve the atmosphere of détente and mutual respect that has prevailed in that area in the past few years.
exist, be in existence, be present, be the case, occur, be prevalent, be current, be the order of the day, be customary, be common, be widespread, be in force/effect
formal obtain
current, existing, prevalent, usual, common, general, widespread
1.2 (prevail on/upon) Persuade (someone) to do something: she was prevailed upon to give an account of her work
More example sentences
  • Set in a college situation, the fiery hero does not fall for the glances of the heroine, right from the start to the end and, instead, prevails upon the heroine to identify her priorities right.
  • With that, Jefferson finally prevails upon us to return to work.
  • He prevails upon a fey young Australian girl, haunted by ghosts of the past, to drive him across the outback so he can claim the car.
persuade, induce, coax, convince, get, urge, pressure, coerce
informal sweet-talk, soft-soap


Late Middle English: from Latin praevalere 'have greater power', from prae 'before' + valere 'have power'.

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Syllabification: pre·vail

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