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

Keep scrolling for more

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 At that time Maryland had only been in existence, in a practical sense, for not quite a year. Kevin Dayhoff, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, 11 June 2021 Current law only gives full state funding to a handful of full-time virtual schools that were in existence before 2013, though those regulations were waived at the start of the pandemic. Emily Donaldson, Dallas News, 10 June 2021 Then there is a third possibility: that the state is regarded by at least some Americans as a way to usher in a world in which all the problems of human existence are somehow resolved once and for all. Samuel Gregg, National Review, 24 May 2021 Food consumption — and production — is central to human existence. Michelle Mcmurry-heath Reprints, STAT, 23 May 2021 The sun has been the most reliable and important power source for the last four and a half billion years and will continue to be so for the rest of human existence. Scott Kelly, Scientific American, 16 May 2021 How in the world does the person who made Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels even live on the same plane of human existence as the person who made Aladdin? Tim Grierson, Vulture, 11 May 2021 Gordon-Reed’s education included an awakening to the complexity of human existence. New York Times, 7 May 2021 Victor Velle’s new documentary explores environmental and consumption issues facing human existence. John Benson, cleveland, 5 May 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of existence

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about existence

Time Traveler for existence

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for existence

Last Updated

14 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Existence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/existence. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for existence



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


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!