SYNONYMY NOTE: prevailing applies to that which leads all others in acceptance, usage, belief, etc. at a given
time and in a given place [a prevailing practice]; current refers to that which is commonly accepted or in general usage at the time specified
or, if unspecified, at the present time [a pronunciation current in the 18th century]; prevalent implies widespread occurrence or acceptance but does not now connote the predominance
of , prevailing [a prevalent belief]; rife implies rapidly increasing prevalence and often connotes excitement or alarm [rumors about war were rife]
Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition. Copyright © 2010 by
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.