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 Today’s News 146 new vulnerabilities all come preinstalled on Android phones Security firm Kryptowire discovered 146 vulnerabilities—across 29 Android smartphone makers—that exist before the phones are even taken out of the box. Wired, "146 New Android Bugs, an Audio Porn Streaming Site, and More News," 15 Nov. 2019 Red-flag legislation sponsored by Democrats is modeled on existing laws that allow firearms to be taken from people suspected of domestic violence. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Florence County in Wisconsin's Northwoods declares itself Second Amendment sanctuary," 14 Nov. 2019 Those most hurt — and growing the most angry — are the immigrants who once fled to a different California that now no longer exists. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "What Happened to California Republicans?," 14 Nov. 2019 The skyscrapers that shape many of the world’s most recognisable cityscapes would not exist without fast and safe lifts. The Economist, "A huge lift business is up for sale," 14 Nov. 2019 But back then, DNA profiling didn't exist, and authorities only proved Collins killed 18-year-old Karen Beineman. Freep.com, "'Handsome' EMU student was unlikely serial killer suspect. Letters, interviews reveal dark side.," 11 Nov. 2019 Who stands where during such events is determined by what is known as the order of precedence, the hierarchy that exists within the royal family. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "Why Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton Are on Different Balconies at the Remembrance Day Service," 10 Nov. 2019 The film, which tells the story of two brothers through the eyes of a gifted girl who travels beautiful lands that exist between life and death, debuted on Netflix in the spring in tandem with a national screening tour. Paula Rogo, Essence, "'The Burial Of Kojo' Makes History As Ghana's First Golden Globes Entry," 9 Nov. 2019 Enforcing our existing laws will keep St. Paul residents and law enforcement safer from gun violence. Letter Writers, Twin Cities, "Letters: Intervene now to address alarming gun violence in St. Paul," 7 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

20 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Exist.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/existed. Accessed 22 November 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).


not agreeing with established beliefs

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