“Widely Used” – Meaning & Examples (+3 Good Synonyms)

When using the phrase “widely used,” it can help to know a little more about which contexts work best for it. This article will explore the meaning of the phrase and give you a few alternatives to using it that might make more sense for your situation.

What Does “Widely Used” Mean?

“Widely used” means that something is adopted by a vast majority of the general population. The population in question is relative, though it often refers to the people of a specific country or, on a larger scale, the planet. We use it to show the magnitude of certain things.

What Does "Widely Used" Mean?

The definition of “widely, “according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “including a lot of different places, people, subjects, etc.”

We can apply this meaning with the word “used” to show that it’s something that is used by a great number of people. It means it has a global reach of some kind and that many people are able to use it for one reason or another.

Examples Of How To Use “Widely Used” In A Sentence

It might help you to see “widely used” in sentences. That way, you’ll have a much better understanding of how we might use it.

“Widely used” works best when we want to talk about something that is “used” by a substantial number of people relative to the audience that we’re writing about.

  1. This practice is widely used, and it’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t require it.
  2. Laptops are widely used in universities and colleges today due to the ease of bringing them along.
  3. Mathematics is widely used in the accounting world, though you won’t find it very useful elsewhere.
  4. We have a product that is widely used by the people of this great city, so you can trust that it works.
  5. This is widely used by just about everyone I know, and I trust their opinions.
  6. We believe that computers are widely used by the younger generation because they have more understanding of how they work.
  7. Generally, widely-used rules are followed throughout all languages to help native speakers understand common themes.

As you can see, “widely used” refers to something that is adopted by a great majority of people. It might help us to sell a product or to prove that an idea is popular and worth pursuing.

3 Good Synonyms For “Widely Used”

We think it might help to know some good synonyms for the phrase. Some of the best ones include:

  • Prevalent
  • Widespread
  • Prolific

“Prevalent” is the preferred synonym of the three. This is because it holds the closest meaning to the term “widely used,” and we can say that something is “prevalent” when it’s used by a large population of the world or the relative quantity of people we’re talking about.


“Prevalent” means that something is very popular and has a wide usage across a group of people. We use it to mean that something has a large “general use” or is “accepted” by a large quantity.

It’s the best word to use in place of “widely used” and is more apparent when you’re trying to convey your meaning.

  • Computers and laptops are prevalent in college study halls.
  • These methodologies are prevalent in the way we think today.
  • You’ll find that most of this is prevalent with the people of this country, and many of them swear by my products.


“Widespread” is another good choice that means that something has a wide grasp on the people of a particular country (or even the world). If something is “widespread,” it means it influences a great number of people.

“Widespread” and “prevalent” are fairly synonymous. You can use either one to the same degree and expect most native speakers to understand your meaning.

  • These widespread ideas are found throughout civilization.
  • I have plenty of widespread products on the market that I think will interest you.
  • Trust me; this isn’t uncommon knowledge. It’s widespread information!


“Prolific” means that something is great at producing consistent and successful results. We can use it when we want to talk about something that is used a lot because it always generates a lot of success for the people that use it.

While it’s not directly synonymous with “prevalent” or “widespread,” it still works really well as an alternative to the phrase “widely used.” Many native speakers understand the meaning, which helps us not have to explain too much.

  • These challenges are prolific in this country, and it’s something we must all overcome.
  • This method is prolific since it works more often than it fails.
  • Your practice is prolific around here. Apparently, no one has found a better option!

“Is Used Widely” Or “Is Widely Used”?

When writing “widely used,” there are two options to choose from that mix up the phrasing. We can try “is used widely” or “is widely used,” and it might help to have a visualization to see which is more popular.

According to this graph, “is widely used” is by far the most popular of the two. “Is used wisely” is very rarely used because most people like to write the adjective (widely) before the verb (used).

"Is Used Widely" Or "Is Widely Used"?

Should “Widely Used” Be Hyphenated?

Generally, we hyphenate words and phrases when we use them to modify a noun in a sentence. Certain words and phrases, like “widely used,” aren’t hyphenated, though there are some situations where it might work well.

You should not hyphenate “widely used” if you’re using it as a phrase verb (i.e., “this method is widely used”). However, if you’re using it as an adjective to modify a noun, you should hyphenate it (i.e., “the widely-used method noted here is important to us”).

As you can see, the phrase’s placement is what’s most important when it comes to using a hyphen inside it. If we get the placement wrong and use (or don’t use) a hyphen, it could mean we’re using the language incorrectly.

For informal situations, most native readers won’t mind if you’re missing a hyphen. However, in formal documents, if you want to follow the AP stylebook guidelines, you should always remember the hyphen if “widely used” is an adjective in your sentence.

  • Verb: This practice is widely used throughout the globe.
  • Adjective: This widely-used methodology paved the way for modern inventions.

Is It Ever Correct To Use “Widelyused”?

Sometimes, with words that are hyphenated, we might also find instances where we can drop the hyphen altogether and turn the two-word phrase into one word. However, does this also apply to “widely used?”

It is never correct to use “widelyused” as one word. We can only use it as a verb with a space between the words or as an adjective when it modifies the noun that comes directly after it.

There are no instances where “widelyused” is correct, and there are no recorded findings of it in any place in the English language. Remember to always include a space or a hyphen, depending on how you use it.

  • Correct: This is widely used by many people.
  • Incorrect: This is widelyused by many people.
  • Correct: The widely-used phrase is common for us.
  • Incorrect: The widelyused phrase is common for us.

What Is The Opposite Of “Widely”?

There are a few words that are opposite to “widely,” though only one matters in this context. “Narrowly” is a word that opposes “widely” if we’re talking about the physical width (or lack thereof) of an object. However, that doesn’t work here.

“Rarely” is the opposite of “widely” in the context of this article. We can say “rarely used” to talk about something that is never used or hardly ever found in the world, while “widely used” means it’s used and practiced by many people.

To help you understand what we mean by this, here are a few useful examples:

  • This method is widely used in the world.
  • These ideals are rarely used elsewhere.
  • The language rules impacting this sentence are widely used.
  • Anything found in this book is rarely used by the general public.

Does “Widely Used” And “Most Used” Mean The Same?

The word “widely” is an adjective, and we use it to modify “used” in this case to talk about many people using something globally. However, “most used” doesn’t work quite in the same way.

“Widely used” talks about something that is used by the vast majority of people in the world. “Most used” talks about something that has the most recorded usage in the world relative to anything else in its category.

If you’re confused, here’s a few examples of what that means in practice:

  • These methods are widely used.

This means that the “methods” are used a lot by the people of the world. However, there might also be other methods out there that we haven’t mentioned which also see a wide usage throughout the world.

  • This is the most used method.

“Most used” in this case means there isn’t another “method” that is used to the same degree as the current one. It means the most users make the most of this “method” rather than any other one.