1. Gaining advantage or superiority; having superior force, influence, or efficacy; prevailing; predominant; successful; victorious. Brennus told the roman embassadors, that prevalent arms were as good as any title. (Sir W. Raleigh)
2. most generally received or current; most widely adopted or practiced; also, generally or extensively existing; widespread; prevailing; as, a prevalent observance; prevalent disease. This was the most received and prevalent opinion. (woodward)
Prevalent, prevailing. What customarily prevails is prevalent; as, a prevalent fashion. What actually prevails is prevailing; as, the prevailing winds are west. Hence, prevailing is the livelier and more pointed word, since it represents a thing in action. It is sometimes the stronger word, since a thing may prevail sufficiently to be called prevalent, and yet require greater strength to make it actually prevailing.
Origin: L. Praevalens, -entis, p. Pr. Of praevalere. See Prevail.