1. Generally current; widespread: the prevailing attitude.
2. Blowing usually or most frequently from a given direction: a prevailing easterly wind.
Synonyms: prevailing, prevalent, current
These adjectives denote what exists or is encountered generally at a particular time. Prevailing applies to what is most frequent or common at a certain time or in a certain place: took a poll to find the prevailing opinion. Prevalent suggests widespread existence or occurrence but does not imply predominance: a belief that was prevalent in the Middle Ages. Current often stresses the present time and is frequently applied to what is subject to frequent change: current psychoanalytic theories.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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