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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Prevail \Pre*vail"\, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Prevailed; p. pr. & vb. n. Prevailing.] [F. pr['e]valoir, OF. prevaleir, L. praevalere; prae before + valere to be strong, able, or worth. See Valiant.] 1. To overcome; to gain the victory or superiority; to gain the advantage; to have the upper hand, or the mastery; to succeed; -- sometimes with over or against. [1913 Webster] When Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. --Ex. xvii. 11. [1913 Webster] So David prevailed over the Philistine. --1 Sam. xvii. 50. [1913 Webster] This kingdom could never prevail against the united power of England. --Swift. [1913 Webster] 2. To be in force; to have effect, power, or influence; to be predominant; to have currency or prevalence; to obtain; as, the practice prevails this day. [1913 Webster] This custom makes the short-sighted bigots, and the warier skeptics, as far as it prevails. --Locke. [1913 Webster] 3. To persuade or induce; -- with on, upon, or with; as, I prevailedon him to wait. [1913 Webster] He was prevailed with to restrain the Earl. --Clarendon. [1913 Webster] Prevail upon some judicious friend to be your constant hearer, and allow him the utmost freedom. --Swift. [1913 Webster]