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 Michigan is home to the third-highest number of conservative local news sites part of this network whose existence was first reported by the Lansing State Journal. Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press, "Partisan local websites masquerading as traditional news outlets target Michigan voters," 7 Oct. 2020 In the meantime, though, the mere existence of the leaks ricochets through the right-wing media bubble—they are speculated about on Fox & Friends, OAN, and elevated online by Trump fan sites. Garrett M. Graff, Wired, "The Right Way to Cover Hacks and Leaks Before the Election," 7 Oct. 2020 Much as the world has adapted to a new, online existence, get-out-the-vote campaigns have become virtual also. Eliza Griswold, The New Yorker, "Does Door-Knocking Matter?," 6 Oct. 2020 This morning, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics to three scientists for their research that illuminated details of black holes’ existence and function in the universe. Rasha Aridi, Smithsonian Magazine, "Three Scientists Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for Discovering Black Holes," 6 Oct. 2020 Just as the ex-husband in a boomer movie will eat a Sloppy Joe in the spotless marble kitchen, messy reality will inevitably disrupt a rom-com heroine’s orderly existence. Rory Satran, WSJ, "When Did Custom Closets Become the Ultimate Status Symbol?," 3 Oct. 2020 The force generated by a person’s actions held in Hinduism and Buddhism to perpetuate transmigration and in its ethical consequences to determine the nature of the person’s next existence. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "Trump getting Covid-19 has nothing to do with karma," 2 Oct. 2020 And in that way, Davis, a police officer in New Jersey in the 1980s, says police nearly 200 years ago turned a victim of their violence into a man no longer worthy of an honest existence. USA Today, "The Legend of Bras-Coupé: How police turned a Black man into a villain to save themselves," 1 Oct. 2020 The role of happenstance in determining the fate of the world may seem a matter for philosophy more than science, but Carroll, a biologist, shows how central the idea is to everyday existence. New York Times, "New & Noteworthy, From Y.A. Dystopia to the Lives of Stoics," 29 Sep. 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

11 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Existence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/existence. Accessed 21 Oct. 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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