ex·​is·​tence | \ ig-ˈzi-stən(t)s How to pronounce existence (audio) \

Definition of existence

1a : the state or fact of having being especially independently of human consciousness and as contrasted with nonexistence the existence of other worlds
b : the manner of being that is common to every mode of being
c : being with respect to a limiting condition or under a particular aspect
2 : actual or present occurrence existence of a state of war
3a(1) : the totality of existent things
(2) : a particular being all the fair existences of heaven— John Keats
b : sentient or living being : life
c : reality as presented in experience
d obsolete : reality as opposed to appearance

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Examples of existence in a Sentence

She began to doubt the existence of God. the existence of UFO's is something that people continue to argue about

Recent Examples on the Web

Many Ukrainians who dream of a decent existence are seeking it elsewhere. Mstyslav Chernov, The Seattle Times, "Ukrainian workers, seeing little hope at home, head abroad," 25 Mar. 2019 So for the first 10 years of young Elizabeth's life, the family led a relatively quiet existence. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "Inside Queen Elizabeth II's Remarkably Close Relationship With Her Father, King George VI," 5 Feb. 2019 At first glance, Monitor-IO reminded me of the butter-passing robot from Rick and Morty, doomed to a trivialized existence fulfilling an insignificant task. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "A review of Monitor-IO, a little gadget that wants to talk about your Internet," 19 Aug. 2018 However, both doctors reason that given it’s totally harmless, upping your cranberry intake in the name of a UTI-free existence can’t hurt. Carolyn Todd, Allure, "This Is Why You Keep Getting UTIs After Sex," 13 Aug. 2018 Indeed, once father and daughter rejoin society, the film’s primary dilemma emerges: While Tom quickly takes to a less feral existence, her father has a much harder time adjusting. Martin Fritz Huber, Outside Online, "'Leave No Trace' Is Brutally Honest About Rewilding," 28 June 2018 The same young boy who used to roll up a book and pretend to be a radio reporter in Somalia now listens to the BBC for news of his homeland and of the camp in Kenya where so many live a squalid existence. Maureen C. Gilmer, Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis man lived refugee story: 'These people ... they are running for their lives'," 20 June 2018 The idea of a flat Earth is a good place to start with this, given that the evidence for its spherical nature goes back to long before the existence of science as an organized activity. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Why does flat Earth belief still exist?," 28 Dec. 2018 The American Civil Liberties Union publicized the existence of the document, which acknowledges that running facial recognition technology on unaware visitors could be invasive. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Going for a ride in Waymo’s just-launched driverless taxi service," 6 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'existence.' 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 existence

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3d

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Statistics for existence

Last Updated

23 May 2019

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Time Traveler for existence

The first known use of existence was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of existence

: the fact of having actual being : the state of being real
: the state of continuing to be or to live
: a particular way of living


ex·​is·​tence | \ ig-ˈzi-stəns How to pronounce existence (audio) \

Kids Definition of existence

1 : the fact or the condition of being or of being real The blue whale is the largest animal in existence.
2 : the state of being alive : life

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Comments on existence

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