June 24, 2016
- prevail (verb)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : to win against opposition : be successful2 : to urge successfully3 a : to be frequent b : to be or continue to be in use or fashion
- How do you use it?
- After promising to tidy their rooms and walk the dog, the children prevailed upon their parents to let them spend a day at the water park.
- Are you a word wiz?
In order to prevail as a word wiz, you have to answer today's quiz. Which of these words do you think is a relative of "prevail"?"Prevail" comes from combining the Latin prefix "prae-" with "valere," the verb that means "to be strong." It takes strength of spirit to be brave, so it's not surprising that "valere" is the ancestor of "valor," which means "personal bravery," as well as "valiant," which means "brave, courageous." "Valid" is another member of this word family. It comes from a Latin form of "valere" meaning "strong, potent." Something valid has force, such as a valid contract or a valid argument. "Valere" can also mean "to be worth." Words that derive from this meaning of "valere" include "value" and "countervail," which means "to compensate for."