Gain access to thousands of additional definitions and advanced search features—ad free! JOIN NOW
: of, relating to, or affirming existence
: grounded in existence or the experience of existence : empirical
: having being in time and space
[ translation of Danish eksistentiel & German existential ]
Keep scrolling for more
empirical (also empiric), experiential, experimental, objective, observational
nonempirical, theoretical (also theoretic), unempirical
Recent Examples on the Web
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'existential.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1
Resources for existential
From the Editors at Merriam-Webster
Lookups spiked after President Obama declared ISIL "not an existential threat"
14 Sep 2018
Time Traveler for existential
See more words from the same year
More from Merriam-Webster on existential
See words that rhyme with existential
Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for existential
Britannica English: Translation of existential for Arabic Speakers
Comments on existential
What made you want to look up existential? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
a magnificent or impressive array
Get Word of the Day daily email!
Musical Words Quiz
Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?
Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.
Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!
That dessert might kill you
How a folk song became a term of derision.
Sorry, not sorry
The participle made famous by Elvis
And is one way more correct than the others?
The story of an imaginary word that managed to sneak past our editors and enter the dictionary.
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
The awkward case of 'his or her'
A quiz in common time.
SCRABBLE® fans, sharpen your skills!