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 In the wake of very public protests there, MTV canceled the show after one 2002-2003 season and tried to scrub it from existence. Christian Holub, EW.com, "MTV is bringing back Clone High with original creators Phil Lord and Chris Miller," 2 July 2020 The White House is doubling down on the fact that there was not unanimity on the bounty program’s existence across intelligence agencies to explain why it was not taken up directly with the president. Howard Lafranchi, The Christian Science Monitor, "Lack of US consensus on Russia? Bounty report poses sharper question.," 1 July 2020 Having explored the ruins beginning in 1859, Mouhot is credited with alerting the West to Angkor’s existence, spurring a new wave of visitors and leading the French to play a pivotal role in its preservation. Alexandra Kirkman, Fortune, "This newly revamped luxury hotel is the best reason to visit Siem Reap this year," 1 July 2020 Somehow, a multibillion-dollar sports conglomerate's admission of culpability felt like an acknowledgment of Darrell’s existence. Donna Britt, Washington Post, "My brother was killed by police. Now I ask, who does George Floyd belong to?," 26 June 2020 Wallace was adamant about the noose's existence during an interview with CNN on Monday night. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "NASCAR shares picture of noose from Bubba Wallace's garage, says search at all tracks found only one pulldown rope in noose," 25 June 2020 But like Svrluga’s silent stand proved, by forcing these choices to be made on an individual basis, the media institutions that continue to profit off their use are eliding their culpability in the slur’s continued existence. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "Stop Printing the R-Word," 25 June 2020 Conversely, the theoretical case for axions’ existence is compelling to many physicists. Dan Falk, Scientific American, "Is Dark Matter Made of Axions?," 23 June 2020 Women writers, in particular, have long been pioneers of the sort of futuristic novel that thinks creatively beyond the nuclear family as the base unit of human existence. Laurie Penny, Wired, "Live Wrong and Prosper: Covid-19 and the Future of Families," 18 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for existence

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for existence

Last Updated

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Existence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/existence. Accessed 14 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for existence


How to pronounce existence (audio)

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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