The Meaning of Prevalent: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of prevalent? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word prevalent, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word prevalent mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word prevalent is an adjective that means having a common currende, wide extent of acceptance, or superiority. This word can be used in many different ways in general use, but the prevailing definition is widespread. The word prevalent is three syllables – pre-va-lent, and the pronunciation of prevalent is ˈprevələnt. Many things can be prevalent, including prevalent disease in sub-Saharan Africa, prevalent teaching methods in South Asia, prevailing winds at a particular time, a prevalent observance of the type of students at Princeton University, prevalent arms used by Roman embassadors, prevalent fashion, a prevalent opinion, or anything else that has great power or superior force. This word is commonly used in epidemiology to refer to the total number of people in a particular place that have been diagnosed with a number of cases, or the efficacy or a preventative measure against disease.

Many different languages also use words that mean prevalent. You may notice that some of these look and sound similar to the word prevalent. These cognates are formed when words have a similar origin or root. This list of translations of prevalent is provided by Word Sense but you could also find translations in a digital edition of a dictionary.

  •  Czech: převládající‎ (masc.)
  •  Japanese: 繁栄‎
  •  Dutch: heersend‎
  •  Serbo-Croatian: преовлађујући‎
  •  Finnish: vallitseva‎
  •  German: vorherrschend‎, (weit) verbreitet‎
  •  Korean: 번영하다‎
  •  Vietnamese: thịnh‎
  •  Portuguese: predominante‎
  •  French: répandu‎ (masc.)
  •  Turkish: Her yerde bulunan.‎
  •  Romanian: prevalent‎, preponderent‎
  •  Swedish: utbredd‎, spridd‎, vedertagen‎
  •  Russian: преоблада́ющий‎, (широко) распространённый‎
  •  Mandarin: 流行‎ (liúxíng), 盛行‎ (shèngxíng), 普遍‎ (pǔbiàn), 廣泛‎, 广泛‎ (guǎngfàn)

What is the origin of the word prevalent?

According to Etymonline, the word prevalent has been used since the early c15 Middle English and comes from the Latin praevalentem, which is the nominative form of the Latin praevalēns/Latin praevalens. This comes from the present participle of praevalēre. The Latin verb praevalere means to be more able. This comes from the roots prae and valere, from the Proto-Indo-European roots wal. 

What are synonyms and antonyms of prevalent?

There is a vast collection of many different words that can be used in place of the word prevalent, which are known as synonyms. Synonyms are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are very useful to know if you are looking to expand your vocabulary or if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word prevalent is provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  dominant
  •  paramount
  •  collective
  •  familiar
  •  public
  •  many
  •  prevailing
  •  popular
  •  united
  •  great
  •  plentiful
  •  predominant
  •  habitual
  •  shared
  •  pervasive
  •  like
  •  commonplace
  •  present
  •  usual
  •  exceeding bounds
  •  commutual
  •  common
  •  rife
  •  omnipresent
  •  all-pervasive
  •  predominating
  •  predominate
  •  traditional
  •  natural
  •  sovereign
  •  about
  •  congruous
  •  pandemic
  •  ascendant
  •  social
  •  dime-a-dozen
  •  afloat
  •  all over the place
  •  spread
  •  ordinary
  •  established
  •  unrestricted
  •  master
  •  generic
  •  catholic
  •  frequent
  •  wonted
  •  abundant
  •  universal
  •  intermutual
  •  accustomed
  •  regular
  •  mainstream
  •  worldwide
  •  communal
  •  current
  •  far-reaching
  •  endemic
  •  regnant
  •  standard
  •  besetting
  •  set
  •  circulating
  •  preponderant
  •  rampant
  •  going
  •  customary
  •  sweeping
  •  everyday
  •  in the air
  •  in circulation
  •  prevalence
  •  normal
  •  overriding
  •  often
  •  chief
  •  reciprocal
  •  stock
  •  matter-of-course
  •  extensive
  •  accepted
  •  overweighing
  •  epidemic
  •  mutual
  •  wide-spread
  •  received
  •  recurrent
  •  ruling
  •  general
  •  conventional
  •  ubiquitous
  •  widespread
  •  orthodox
  •  broad
  •  routine
  •  typical
  •  average
  •  existing
  •  well-known
  •  diffuse

There are also numerous different words that are the opposite of the word prevalent, which are called antonyms. Antonyms are also very useful to know if you are trying to expand your vocabulary and knowledge of the English language. This list of antonyms for the word prevalent is also provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  deadly
  •  infrequent
  •  slight
  •  as dead as mutton
  •  basic
  •  vintage
  •  compact
  •  foolish
  •  dead and buried
  •  dead as mutton
  •  assuredly dead
  •  frivolous
  •  ancillary
  •  unique
  •  deficient
  •  crazy
  •  awkweird
  •  completely dead
  •  harebrained
  •  rare
  •  counting worms
  •  exclusive
  •  unusual
  •  determinate
  •  foolhardy
  •  graceless
  •  insubstantial
  •  finite
  •  as dead as a doornail
  •  brief
  •  at rest
  •  bizarre
  •  behind the times
  •  circumscribed
  •  little
  •  diminished
  •  at a premium
  •  dead as a doornail
  •  dispensable
  •  subservient
  •  extraordinary
  •  careless
  •  unconventional
  •  brash
  •  small
  •  insignificant
  •  individual
  •  alone
  •  uncommon
  •  flippant

How can the word prevalent be used in a sentence?

There are many ways that the word prevalent can be used in a sentence in the English language. Using new words in a sentence is a great way to incorporate new lingo into your vocabulary. You can also try making flashcards and quizzes that test your knowledge of the definitions of different English words. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! Below are several different examples of ways in which the word prevalent can be used in the English language to help get your started with using this word. 

She was worried that the prevalent disease was going to completely wipe out her restaurant. They were a family style restaurant that was designed to have people sharing tables and communicating with each other while they eat, but it didn’t seem like that style would last.

The prevalent occurrence of cheating at the school needed to come to an end. The principal wanted to expel all of the students who were caught cheating, but it would have cut the grade sizes down by half. Instead, they decided to hold an assembly about the dangers of cheating and plagiarism.

There were prevalent signs that she would be proposed to that weekend – her friends randomly brought ehr to get her nails done, her boyfriend was acting weird, and he suggested an early morning hike on Saturday.

Overall, the word prevalent means widespread or having a greater power than something else.


  1. Prevalent | Word Sense 
  2. Prevalent synonyms – 1 247 Words and Phrases for Prevalent | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Prevalent antonyms – 277 Opposites of Prevalent | Power Thesaurus 
  4. prevalent | Origin and meaning of prevalent | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Prevalent definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary