ex·​ist | \ ig-ˈzist How to pronounce exist (audio) \
existed; existing; exists

Definition of exist

intransitive verb

1a : to have real being whether material or spiritual did unicorns exist the largest galaxy known to exist
b : to have being in a specified place or with respect to understood limitations or conditions strange ideas existed in his mind
2 : to continue to be racism still exists in society
3a : to have life or the functions of vitality we cannot exist without oxygen
b : to live at an inferior level or under adverse circumstances the hungry existing from day to day

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Synonyms & Antonyms for exist



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Examples of exist in a Sentence

She believes that ghosts really do exist. It's the largest galaxy known to exist. Does life exist on Mars? The Internet didn't exist then. We shouldn't ignore the problems that exist in our own community. Racism still exists in our society. The organization may soon cease to exist if more funding isn't provided.
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Recent Examples on the Web Nationally, home sales also ticked up in October, according to data on existing-home sales released by the National Association of REALTORS. Jordyn Grzelewski, cleveland, "Home sales in Northeast Ohio on track to beat 2018′s levels, no slowdown expected," 1 Dec. 2019 When inspectors believe an imminent threat exists, the city can use emergency condemnation. Hallie Miller, Washington Post, "Her Baltimore house was razed with 6 days’ notice: ‘I’m mortified at how quickly this unfolded’," 28 Nov. 2019 But in principle eliminating HIV is possible with existing technology. The Economist, "Slowly, HIV is being beaten," 28 Nov. 2019 How does your telling of these events differ from other existing scholarship? Claire Bugos, Smithsonian, "The Myths of the Thanksgiving Story and the Lasting Damage They Imbue," 27 Nov. 2019 When inspectors believe an imminent threat exists, the city can use emergency condemnation. Hallie Miller, baltimoresun.com, "City razes Baltimore home with 6 days’ notice. ‘She would be left with nothing if we didn’t open our mouths.’," 25 Nov. 2019 Tempe Tempe officials approved a design to remodel an existing building at 1715 E. Southern Ave. for a 27,572-square-foot grocery store and for a training center next door at 1717 E. Southern Ave. Joshua Bowling, azcentral, "Some Aldi store openings in Phoenix area might be pushed back," 21 Nov. 2019 In other words, damage from a crime cannot be repaired through incarceration–or any other form of retribution–while no opportunity to restore community harmony exists. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Man Was Convicted of Threatening to Kill Ilhan Omar. She Wants the Judge to Show Him Compassion.," 20 Nov. 2019 Under existing law, antitrust enforcers in the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have the authority to bring legal action against companies for that kind of conduct. Wired, "Breaking Big Tech Up Isn’t the Only Approach for Antitrust," 20 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exist.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of exist

circa 1568, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for exist

Latin exsistere to come into being, exist, from ex- + sistere to stand, stop; akin to Latin stare to stand — more at stand

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Time Traveler for exist

Time Traveler

The first known use of exist was circa 1568

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Statistics for exist

Last Updated

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Exist.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exist?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=e&file=exist001. Accessed 12 December 2019.

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More Definitions for exist


How to pronounce exist (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of exist

: to have actual being : to be real
: to continue to be or to live


ex·​ist | \ ig-ˈzist How to pronounce exist (audio) \
existed; existing

Kids Definition of exist

1 : to have actual being : be real Do unicorns exist?
2 : to be found : occur Problems exist in every neighborhood.
3 : to continue to live She barely earned enough to exist.

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More from Merriam-Webster on exist

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for exist

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with exist

Spanish Central: Translation of exist

Nglish: Translation of exist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exist for Arabic Speakers

Comments on exist

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


a period of high artistic development

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