Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

prevail - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [intransitive] formal     prevail pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
present tense
present participleprevailing
past tenseprevailed
past participleprevailed
  1. 2
    to be the strongest influence or element in a situation

    We hope that common sense will prevail and an agreement will soon be reached.

    In the end, the Chinese view prevailed.

  2. 3
    to defeat someone in a game, competition, argument etc

    The centre-left coalition is expected to prevail in next month’s election.

    prevail over:

    The Italian team eventually prevailed over Russia 45 – 43.

phrasal verbs



to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play