ex·​is·​tence | \ig-ˈzi-stən(t)s \

Definition of existence 

1a obsolete : reality as opposed to appearance

b : reality as presented in experience

c(1) : the totality of existent things

(2) : a particular being all the fair existences of heaven— John Keats

d : sentient or living being : life

2a : 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

3 : actual or present occurrence existence of a state of war

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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

The project's existence was revealed by the Intercept back in August. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Google employees demand that Google stop work on censored Chinese search," 27 Nov. 2018 Much about Safe Harbor, whose existence hasn’t been previously reported, is opaque. Leslie Scism, WSJ, "L.A. Dodgers Are Part of an Unorthodox $20 Billion Plan to Backstop Insurers," 24 Nov. 2018 With a steady onslaught of hurricanes, sea-level rise, and land subsidence, the island’s very existence is improbable. Nate Berg, Curbed, "Can engineering save Louisiana’s coastline?," 7 Nov. 2018 Even without selling tens of millions of phones every quarter, Google has an influence on the smartphone market purely by virtue of those phones’ existence. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Sales are a measure of sales, not importance," 16 Oct. 2018 But a lack of unflattering facts or a failure by the public to appreciate their existence has never been the foundation of Trump’s political success. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Jim Acosta vs. the Trump White House, explained," 14 Nov. 2018 For my opponent and the Republican Party of Florida, my very existence was radical. Azmia Magane, Teen Vogue, "5 Questions for Anna Eskamani, the First Iranian-American Elected to the Florida Legislature," 8 Nov. 2018 Take a moment to reflect on the role gender plays in your existence down to the fine details. Vogue, "Teddy Quinlivan: Why I’m Standing Up Against Trump’s Anti-Trans Agenda," 26 Oct. 2018 In so many ways, Budapest owes its very existence to the timeless human urge to pamper, connect, and indulge. András Szántó, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why Budapest Is Europe's Unlikely Capital of Hedonism," 29 Aug. 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 1a

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Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for existence

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

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More Definitions for existence


ex·​is·​tence | \ig-ˈzi-stəns \

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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