What is the differences between "dominate" and "predominate" ; "typical" and "stereotypical" I looked them up in dictionaries but couldn't really differentiate them.

In other words, can they be interchangeable?

  • 2
    Would you like to provide the dictionary definitions which are causing difficulty?
    – WS2
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 8:46
  • M-W is certainly not clear. I think these are two separate questions. IMO the difference between 'dominant' and 'predominant' is one of intention (a sports team dominates a league, a certain climate type is predominant in a given geographic area); whereas the difference between 'typical' and 'stereotypical' is one of perceived degree (typical is generally true of a type, whereas stereotypical types are an artificial construct). A typical sportsperson is healthy and fit; a stereotypical sportsperson is obsessed with health and fitness in the extreme.
    – Charl E
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 9:39
  • @CharlE The OP is asking about "dominate/predominate", not "dominant/predominant".
    – WS2
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 21:53
  • You are not asking for a word, so I removed the tag single-word-requests. Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 15:02

3 Answers 3


A stereotype is a widely-held, often false belief about what a particular group of people are all like. If someone is typical of their group, they are a good example of how such people really are. If they are stereotypical, they just happen to resemble the popular idea of their kind (like an Englishman wearing a bowler hat and carrying a rolled umbrella).


dominate suggests power or control while predominate suggests the effects of power or control in terms of successfulness or having a majority and so on:

For example:

One ethnic group dominated the region.

Implies that the ethnic group ruled over the region.

one ethnic group predominated in the region.

Implies that the ethnic group was more powerful or had a majority in the region without implying the ruling over the region. We can clarify the latter through using 'in terms of' while this application on the former is wrong:

*the ethnic group dominated the region in terms of wealth.

is absolutely wrong. While:

the ethnic group predominated in the region in terms of wealth.

Is clarifying.

About the difference between typical and stereotypical, stereo- implies the state of being solid.

He is typical of a teacher.

He is stereotypical of a teacher.

The latter suggests that the person has developed a solid personality as a teacher. This can have negative connotation as the developed personality is too solid or rigid, While the former has usually positive connotation.

  • 2
    It would be more idiomatic to say 'The ethnic group predominated in the region' (they formed the largest part of the population). Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 13:48
  • Yes, that's right. Your comment emphasizes the difference I mentioned. I am going to edit my answer. Thank you.
    – Ali Af
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 14:19
  • Million thanks @AliAf. Your explanation is very clear and super easy to understand. Yet I am a little confused with the case of "dominate". dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/dominate dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/predominate. The second meaning of "dominate" seems to be similar to that of "predominate" which is "the largest, most important, or most noticeable part of something". It makes me wonder that if they can be interchangeable in the case that what I mean by "dominate" is not "to rule or have control" but "to be the largest, the most important"
    – Tinh Le
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 14:50
  • Thank you a lot. Please take into account that all of the 'senses' of a word are not prevalant in general or mainstream application.futhermore,predominate is in turn has a sense which means 'rule or domination'. What I mentioned was about the prevalent senses.
    – Ali Af
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 16:24
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    Calling someone "a typical teacher", would by no means always be delivered as a "positive" comment. It often carries a derisive significance e.g. from someone who had a low opinion of teachers generally. However, I do realise that you said "usually". So you probably already know this.
    – WS2
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 22:00

"Typical." When said of someone with a certain inflection, the word has a pejorative sense. It's a one-word, idiomatic way of saying "That unseemly behavior is what we've come to expect from him, based on our perception of his character." So, both "typical" and "stereotypical" can have pejorative meanings, based on context and inflection, though the latter may be more often pejorative, since the former can be used in a nonjudgmental way. It may be that disapproval of the stereotypical is found in societies that value individualism over conformity. (Comments on "typical" and "stereotypical" may belong in a separate thread here, since the original question was about "dominate" and "predominate".)

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