c. 1400, prevailen, "be successful; be efficacious," from Old French prevaleir (Modern French prévaloir) and directly from Latin praevalere "be stronger or more able, have greater power," from prae "before" (see pre-) + valere "have power, be strong" (from PIE root *wal- "to be strong").
The spelling in English perhaps has been influenced by avail. The meaning "have or exert superior influence" is from mid-15c. (to prevail upon "succeed in persuading" is by 1570s). The sense of "be in force, be prevalent or current" is by 1776. Related: Prevailed; prevailing.
Old English weldan (Mercian), wieldan, wealdan (West Saxon) "have power over, compel, tame, subdue" (class VII strong verb; past tense weold, past participle gewealden), merged with weak verb wyldan, both from Proto-Germanic *waldan "to rule" (source also of Old Saxon and Gothic waldan, Old Frisian walda "to govern, rule," Old Norse valda "to rule, wield, to cause," Old High German waltan, German walten "to rule, govern").
The Germanic words and cognates in Balto-Slavic (Old Church Slavonic vlado "to rule," vlasti "power," Russian vladeti "to reign, rule, possess, make use of," Lithuanian veldu, veldėti "to rule, possess") probably are from PIE *woldh-, extended form of root *wal- "to be strong, to rule." Related: Wielded; wielding.
"animals of the mammalian order Cetacea," Old English hwæl "whale," also "walrus," from Proto-Germanic *hwalaz (source also of Old Saxon hwal, Old Norse hvalr, hvalfiskr, Swedish val, Middle Dutch wal, walvisc, Dutch walvis, Old High German wal, German Wal), from PIE *(s)kwal-o- (source also of Latin squalus "a kind of large sea fish"). In popular use it was applied to any large sea animal. Phrase whale of a "excellent or large example" is c. 1900, student slang. Whale-oil attested from mid-15c.
Old English weall, Anglian wall "rampart, dike, earthwork" (natural as well as man-made), "dam, cliff, rocky shore," also "defensive fortification around a city, side of a building," an Anglo-Frisian and Saxon borrowing (Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Middle Low German, Middle Dutch wal) from Latin vallum "wall, rampart, row or line of stakes," apparently a collective form of vallus "stake," from PIE *walso- "a post." Swedish vall, Danish val are from Low German.
Meaning "interior partition of a structure" is mid-13c. In this case, English uses one word where many languages have two, such as German Mauer "outer wall of a town, fortress, etc.," used also in reference to the former Berlin Wall, and wand "partition wall within a building" (compare the distinction, not always rigorously kept, in Italian muro/parete, Irish mur/fraig, Lithuanian mūras/siena, etc.). The Latin word for "defensive wall" was murus (see mural).
Anatomical use from late 14c. To give (someone) the wall "allow him or her to walk on the (cleaner) wall side of the pavement" is from 1530s. To turn (one's) face to the wall "prepare to die" is from 1570s. Phrase up the wall "angry, crazy" is from 1951; off the wall "unorthodox, unconventional" is recorded from 1966, American English student slang. To go over the wall "escape" (originally from prison) is from 1933. Wall-to-wall (adj.) recorded 1939, of shelving, etc.; metaphoric use (usually disparaging) is from 1967.
heavenly hall in which Odin receives the souls of heroes slain in battle, 1696 (in Archdeacon Nicolson's "English Historical Library"), from Old Norse Valhöll "hall of the battle-slain;" first element from valr "those slain in battle," from Proto-Germanic *walaz (source also of Old English wæl "slaughter, bodies of the slain," Old High German wal "battlefield, slaughter"), from PIE root *wele- (2) "to strike, wound" (source also of Avestan vareta- "seized, prisoner," Latin veles "ghosts of the dead," Old Irish fuil "blood," Welsh gwel "wound"). Second element is from höll "hall," from PIE root *kel- (1) "to cover, conceal, save." Reintroduced by 18c. antiquaries. Figurative sense is from 1845.
"long, loose outer garment," 1510s, from Spanish gabardina, which Watkins says is from French galverdine, from a Germanic source such as Middle High German wallevart "pilgrimage" (German Wallfahrt) in the sense of "pilgrim's cloak." The compound would represent Proto-Germanic *wal- (source also of Old High German wallon "to roam, wander, go on a pilgrimage;" see gallant (adj.)) and Proto-Germanic *faran "to go" (from PIE root *per- (2) "to lead, pass over"). The Spanish form perhaps was influenced by Spanish gabán "overcoat" and tabardina "coarse coat." Century Dictionary, however, says the Spanish word is an extended form of gabán and the Spanish word was borrowed and underwent alterations in Old French.