Definition of prevail in English:



  • 1 Prove more powerful than opposing forces; be victorious.

    ‘it is hard for logic to prevail over emotion’
    • ‘Punjab reorganised their game on resumption and managed to prevail over their rivals.’
    • ‘The president was determined that the goal of winning the war prevail over all else.’
    • ‘Your nation endured the blitz to prevail over an implacable foe.’
    • ‘The councillors are optimists and we believe that the good will prevail over evil in our Garden Town.’
    • ‘We can hope that change for the good will ultimately prevail over change for the bad.’
    • ‘He was of course, feeling the paternal love which can prevail over all other emotions.’
    • ‘The better team should prevail over the course of several plays, so overtime is the way to go.’
    • ‘Does it make sense to say that the rights of A to depasture his or her cattle shall prevail over the rights of B?’
    • ‘There are no questions, no wringing hands and no doubt that good will prevail over evil.’
    • ‘While he admitted to contemplating suicide, he resolved to prevail over adversity.’
    • ‘Don't you think that the same capitalist nature or profit motive will prevail over those countries?’
    • ‘There are no Lycra-clad heroes swinging to the rescue; no guarantees that good will prevail over evil.’
    • ‘Your voice was heard about the booking rules so let's hope good sense and fairness will prevail over the price policy.’
    • ‘Its name derives from romance, the literary form in which desires and dreams prevail over everyday realities.’
    • ‘Will they prevail over Australia and effectively raise prices over the next five years?’
    • ‘Abraham tries to prevail over God in the merit of having brought monotheism to the world.’
    • ‘Their collective rights prevail over individual or corporate monopoly interests.’
    • ‘I think it also possible that he has such a low opinion of her that he is determined that his opinions and views shall prevail over hers.’
    • ‘Rapoport presents this method as a means to help one to prevail over an opponent in an argument.’
    • ‘What is to be gained by letting egos prevail over common sense?’
    win, win out, win through, triumph, be victorious, be the victor, gain the victory, carry the day, carry all before one, finish first, come out ahead, come out on top, succeed, prove superior, conquer, overcome, achieve mastery, gain mastery, gain ascendancy
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    1. 1.1Be widespread in a particular area at a particular time; be current.
      ‘an atmosphere of crisis prevails’
      • ‘But they warned that if no rain falls within the next two months, a crisis might prevail in the area.’
      • ‘My latest academic upload again points to the generally unscientific culture that prevails in academic psychology.’
      • ‘The cynicism prevailing among the new generation deprives society of the inflow of fresh ideas.’
      • ‘Others are just private murderous mafias that thrive in the atmosphere of lawlessness that prevails in large parts of the country.’
      • ‘As it was the final meeting of the season before the Summer break, a festive atmosphere prevailed.’
      • ‘These measures would greater assist in dealing with the problems currently prevailing.’
      • ‘There, trained facilitators ensure that a positive, supportive atmosphere prevails.’
      • ‘It is, if you like, the humanitarian consequences of this legal vacuum that currently prevails there.’
      • ‘Everything feels dinky and a certain pre-war atmosphere prevails as we huddle inside, watching the rain lash at the portholes.’
      • ‘Natural Healing Crystals are on display in the store and a calming atmosphere prevails.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A feverish atmosphere prevails at an otherwise-calm environment of the Museum complex.’
      • ‘Jakarta's festive mood also prevailed in most other areas of the nation as millions of people celebrated on the day.’
      • ‘The family home we stayed in was small, basic, clean and with a very friendly atmosphere prevailing.’
      • ‘A great atmosphere prevailed around the town in the afternoon with the amusements arcades open again.’
      • ‘After racing a wonderful atmosphere prevailed which led to an almighty sing song.’
      • ‘The atmosphere prevailing in the tribal belt has thrown up a serious challenge to the secular forces.’
      • ‘You will have domestic worries and an unsettled atmosphere will prevail at home.’
      • ‘Only when this has been set in place will we be able to assess the extent of the order that currently prevails.’
      • ‘Villages will always win over towns because the community spirit prevails more with lesser areas of population.’
      current, existing, prevalent, usual, common, most usual, commonest, most frequent, general, mainstream
      widespread, rife, in circulation
      set, recognized, established, customary, acknowledged, accepted, ordinary
      Popular, fashionable, in fashion, in style, in vogue
      exist, be in existence, be present, be the case, hold, obtain, occur, be prevalent, be current, be rife, be rampant, be the order of the day, be customary, be established, be common, be widespread, be in force, be in effect
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    2. 1.2Persuade (someone) to do something.
      ‘she was prevailed upon to give an account of her work’
      • ‘He said since the issue was of urgent importance and the Chief Minister prevailed upon him, the implementation of the project was expedited.’
      • ‘Every home in the parish was prevailed upon to assist.’
      • ‘And the City Police Commissioner prevailed upon the State Home Secretary!’
      • ‘The authorities will be prevailed upon to ensure better living conditions for the senior citizens within the area, Mr Bhaskar said.’
      • ‘The sales assistants must have prevailed upon me.’
      • ‘With that, Jefferson finally prevails upon us to return to work.’
      • ‘Why has that nation not prevailed upon that government in which the satellite station is located to prevent the airing of these videotapes?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I have helped all kinds of disabled persons to set up telephone booths, prevailing upon the BSNL.’
      • ‘If that MP can be prevailed upon to contact a minister of state and request a reply, the response will be referred to and drafted by the relevant civil servants.’
      • ‘He said the older men ‘were prevailing upon him’ to hand over items in payment.’
      • ‘But the boaters prevailed upon the lieutenant to let them in.’
      • ‘Doolittle agrees but prevails on Eliza to give him some money after which he jubilantly gives voice to his general philosophy, ‘With a Little Bit of Luck’.’
      • ‘With every reading of a death warrant, well-oiled machinery, comprising local and foreign lawyers, has kicked into action, repeatedly prevailing upon the courts to stay the hangman's hand.’
      • ‘Soon hurlers started prevailing on him to repair hurleys for them, a service for the players which later developed into cutting and shaping new hurleys from a piece of raw wood.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was a nice song, I liked it so much I prevailed upon my Dad to buy it for me…’
      • ‘If there is such, the surveyor involved should be prevailed upon to discover whether measures have been taken to obviate flooding, and if so, whether they work.’
      • ‘I mean, eventually I prevailed upon her to show me, for instance, how to read a story without blinking your eyes.’
      • ‘The banks have been successful in prevailing upon this section to realise that there is joy in borrowing money too, and, of course, to the extent that it is spent to add style to living.’
      persuade, induce, talk someone into, coax, convince, make, get, press someone into, win someone over, sway, bring someone round, argue someone into, urge, pressure someone into, pressurize someone into, bring pressure to bear on, coerce, influence, prompt
      inveigle, entice, tempt, lure
      cajole, wheedle someone into, get round, prod someone into, reason someone into
      sweet-talk, soft-soap, twist someone's arm, smooth-talk
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Late Middle English: from Latin praevalere have greater power from prae before + valere have power.