prevailing

prevailing, prevalent, rife, current are comparable when they mean general (as in circulation, acceptance, or use) especially in a given place or at a given time.
Prevailing applies especially to something which is predominant or which generally or commonly obtains at the time or in the place indicated or implied
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the prevailing winds are westerly

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the prevailing opinion among booksellers

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their frankly barbarous outlook and prevailing grossness of expression— Bridges-Adams

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Prevalent applies especially to something which is general or very common over a given area or at a given time. The term, however, does not suggest, as prevailing usually suggests, a predominance in frequency or in favor; rather, it connotes a frequency without necessarily implying that it is the most frequent; thus, the prevailing or usual wind in a region is from the southeast, but southwest winds may, nevertheless, be prevalent there; colds and grippe are prevalent in northern states during the winter; a widely prevalent pronunciation of a word may not necessarily be the prevailing pronunciation
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so prevalent is urban blight that the nickname "Garden State" seems a macabre joke— Armbrister

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Rife adds to prevalent an implication such as the rapid spread of the thing so qualified, or a great increase in the number of its instances, or merely its commonness or abundance
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rumor is already rife here as to Dr. Trefoil's successor— Trollope

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in a national political campaign, when issues are hotly contested and prejudices are rifeMott

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was a considerable poet himself in days when poets were rifeGogarty

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Current applies especially to things (as language, philosophy, or fashion) that are constantly in process of change or development, or to things (as coins or diseases) that circulate constantly from one person or thing to another; hence, current so often describes what is widespread in its use, adoption, or acceptance at the time in question that it has come to imply the present if no other time is indicated; thus, current English is the English language of the present time; a current notion is one that is widely accepted at the moment; banknotes, postage stamps, or coins of the current series are those still being printed or minted for circulation or sale
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current styles in hats

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current tendencies in fiction

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a current practice

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However, when the term applies to things (as periodicals) that come out in a series or in installments, current describes the one appearing during the present period (as the week or month) or the latest to appear
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the current issue of a magazine

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the current installment of a new novel appearing serially in a periodica^

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But current is often used in the place of the other words of this group when the time or place is definitely indicated and merely the passing from one person to another is stressed
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Shakespeare used the current language of his day— J. R. Lowell

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as current in her time, the Evangelical creed was simple— Ellis

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she had been given, at fourteen, the current version of her origin— Wharton

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Analogous words: *dominant, predominant, preponderant: *common, ordinary, familiar: general, *universal

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

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  • prevailing — pre‧vail‧ing [prɪˈveɪlɪŋ] adjective [only before a noun] existing at a particular time or in a particular situation; = CURRENT: • The prevailing economic conditions have had a serious impact on our operations. • The shares will be bought at… …   Financial and business terms

  • prevailing — I (current) adjective abundant, accepted, accustomary, accustomed, all embracing, bourgeois, catholic, characteristic, colloquial, common, commonplace, comprehensive, conformable, contemporary, conventional, current, customary, diffuse, dominant …   Law dictionary

  • Prevailing — Pre*vail ing, a. 1. Having superior force or influence; efficacious; persuasive. Shak. [1913 Webster] Saints shall assist thee with prevailing prayers. Rowe. [1913 Webster] 2. Predominant; prevalent; most general; as, the prevailing disease of a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Prevailing — is synonymous with dominant: *Prevailing winds *Prevailing visibility *Prevailing wage …   Wikipedia

  • prevailing — [prē vāl′iŋ, pri vāl′ iŋ] adj. 1. superior in strength, influence, or effect 2. most frequent, noticeable, etc.; predominant 3. widely existing; prevalent prevailingly adv. SYN. PREVAILING applies to that which leads all others in acceptance,… …   English World dictionary

  • prevailing — prevailing; un·prevailing; …   English syllables

  • prevailing — [adj] general, dominant all embracing, by the numbers*, catholic, common, comprehensive, current, customary, ecumenical, established, familiar, fashionable, influential, in style, in vogue, main, operative, ordinary, popular, predominant,… …   New thesaurus

  • prevailing — pre|vail|ing [ prı veılıŋ ] adjective only before noun * existing at a particular time or in a particular place: The prevailing market conditions are not favorable to small investors. a. prevailing attitudes or types of behavior are the ones that …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • prevailing */ — UK [prɪˈveɪlɪŋ] / US adjective [only before noun] a) existing at a particular time or in a particular place The prevailing market conditions are not favourable to small investors. b) prevailing attitudes or types of behaviour are the ones that… …   English dictionary

  • prevailing — I (Roget s IV) modif. Syn. prevalent, general, current, rife, popular, common, regular, steady, predominant, dominant, universal, worldwide, sweeping, comprehensive, widespread, rampant, ruling, chief, principal, usual; see also common 1 . Syn.… …   English dictionary for students

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