existential

adjective
ex·​is·​ten·​tial | \ ˌeg-(ˌ)zi-ˈsten(t)-shəl How to pronounce existential (audio) , ˌek-(ˌ)si-\

Definition of existential

1 : of, relating to, or affirming existence existential propositions
2a : grounded in existence or the experience of existence : empirical
b : having being in time and space
3 [ translation of Danish eksistentiel & German existential ] : existentialist

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Other Words from existential

existentially adverb

Examples of existential in a Sentence

child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim believed that fairy tales help children cope with their existential anxieties and dilemmas

Recent Examples on the Web

Artificial intelligence offers limitless potential for the financial industry, but at Fortune‘s MPW International Summit on Tuesday Mastercard vice chairman Ann Cairns also called attention to some of its existential risks. Beth Kowitt, Fortune, "Why Diversity in the Artificial Intelligence Sector Is Critical," 12 June 2018 Through this framing, the idea of choosing hope becomes both an existential act that affirms your humanity, and a form of resistance against cynical worldviews that dismiss hope as a powerful force for change. Aja Romano, Vox, "In the era of Trump and apocalyptic change, Hopepunk is a storytelling template for #resistance — and hanging onto your humanity at all costs.," 27 Dec. 2018 In some sense Tesla’s union question is an existential one: is Tesla a tech company or a car company? Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge, "What Tesla’s union-busting trial means for the rest of Silicon Valley," 29 Sep. 2018 That existential tightness about me began to loosen even if the spandex did not. Matt Ortile, SELF, "Whenever My Life Feels Out of Control, I Go to Ballet Class," 16 Aug. 2018 Nightflyers is facing a similar existential crisis. Samantha Nelson, The Verge, "George R.R. Martin’s Nightflyers asks whether humanity deserves to be saved," 29 Nov. 2018 The news of Justin's existential crisis shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Justin Bieber Feels "Empty and Confused" and Like "Something is Missing from His Life" After Marrying Hailey Baldwin," 5 Nov. 2018 The system is starting to perceive endemic corruption as existential threat and is seeking to at least contain it. Asa Fitch, WSJ, "As Economy Withers, Iran Imposes Harsh Crackdown on Fraud," 26 Dec. 2018 But in the face of this existential threat, cities also present the best places to curb emissions: Though urban areas generate 70 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide, that also makes them a good place to start making a difference. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "As cities confront climate change, is density the answer?," 11 Dec. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of existential

1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of existential was in 1656

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More from Merriam-Webster on existential

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with existential

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for existential

Britannica English: Translation of existential for Arabic Speakers

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