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

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

Arizona Summit, formerly known as the Phoenix School of Law, has been in existence since 2004. Anne Ryman, azcentral, "Arizona Summit Law School to lose American Bar Association accreditation," 8 June 2018 Wipeout Omega Collection’s phenomenal update that allows you to play through the entire game in VR is probably the best example of this, and as a big Wipeout fan myself almost entirely justifies PSVR’s existence. Sam Byford, The Verge, "PlayStation VR has had a quietly awesome year," 20 Dec. 2018 Elliott himself found out about the footage’s existence in 1990 while working as a staff producer at Atlantic Records. Eleanor Hildebrandt, Popular Mechanics, "46 Years Later, Aretha Franklin's 'Amazing Grace' Resurrected by Modern Day Tech," 12 Nov. 2018 Ah, citrus oils—the bane of every derm’s existence. Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "4 Essential Oils That Are Actually Really Irritating to Skin," 11 Oct. 2018 Americans report seeing Bigfoot with surprising frequency, yet no one has ever confirmed Bigfoot’s existence. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "Our Planet Still Has Secrets: Talking Tasmanian Tigers with Journalist Brooke Jarvis," 5 July 2018 Trade tensions have been a roadblock to China’s approval of the deal — including U.S. Commerce Department sanctions against Chinese electronics maker ZTE that threatened the company’s existence. Mike Freeman, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Qualcomm, NXP shares jump on reports of Chinese merger approval," 14 June 2018 The unlimited bandwidth—while highly unusual for free VPNs—does as well given that Pornhub’s existence revolves around streaming videos. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Pornhub launches VPNhub, a VPN service with free, unlimited bandwidth," 24 May 2018 During the nearly 26 years of the law’s existence, legal sports gambling in Nevada rose 172%, from $1.8 billion per year to $4.9 billion, according to the UNLV Center for Gaming Research. Sean Gregory, Time, "The Risks and Rewards of the Supreme Court’s Sports Gambling Decision," 17 May 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

14 Mar 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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the range of authority or knowledge

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