Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

presently

play
adverb pres·ent·ly \ˈpre-zənt-lē\

Simple Definition of presently

  • : during the time that is happening now : at the present time

  • : after a short time

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of presently

  1. 1 a archaic :  at once b :  without undue delay :  before long

  2. 2 :  at the present time :  now

Usage Discussion of presently

Both senses 1b and 2 are flourishing in current English, but many commentators have objected to sense 2. Since this sense has been in continuous use since the 15th century, it is not clear why it is objectionable. Perhaps a note in the Oxford English Dictionary (1909) that the sense has been obsolete since the 17th century in literary English is to blame, but the note goes on to observe that the sense is in regular use in most English dialects. The last citation in that dictionary is from a 1901 Leeds newspaper, written in Standard English. Sense 2 is most common in contexts relating to business and politics <the fastest-rising welfare cost is Medicaid, presently paid by the states and cities — William Safire>

Examples of presently in a sentence

  1. <I cannot attend to the matter this instant, but I will presently.>

  2. <we are presently waiting in line for our turn>



14th Century

First Known Use of presently

14th century


PRESENTLY Defined for Kids

presently

play
adverb pres·ent·ly \ˈpre-zənt-lē\

Definition of presently for Students

  1. 1 :  before long :  soon <He searched … for fallen limbs of trees; presently he found a … branch. — Virginia Hamilton, M. C. Higgins>

  2. 2 :  at the present time :  now <She's presently at home.>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up presently? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the range of perception or understanding

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alt-5746713d76276

Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

reduce disapprove perplex soothe
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ