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

Harper and Machado remained on the market, their continuing unemployment stoking fears of labor unrest and raising existential questions about the... Jared Diamond, WSJ, "Manny Machado, Padres Agree to 10-Year, $300 Million Deal," 19 Feb. 2019 Presuming its final design comes to fruition, the Szorenyi faces an existential question: What is the rotary's place in the world? Matthew Jancer, Popular Mechanics, "The Rhombus Rotary Engine: Can a Quirky New Design Top the Famous Wankel?," 18 Jan. 2019 This is the existential question now before a Mississippi state court. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "If an algorithm draws lines on a map, is that the same as land surveying?," 13 July 2018 White walkers have never been its true existential threat; in GOT, death could come at the hands of any of us, at any moment. Taylor Antrim, Vogue, "It’s (Past) Time to Say Goodbye to Game of Thrones," 12 Apr. 2019 The meager edited footage turned the episode into a difficult-to-watch existential meditation on how awful the world can be even while people remain capable of bridge-building. Evan Kleiman, latimes.com, "He may have had a bad boy persona, but Anthony Bourdain was lovely, loyal and so damn smart," 9 June 2018 The songs deliver a series of poignant existential meditations. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "Loma, a collaboration between Cross Record and Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater, create a diverse array of moody settings," 3 May 2018 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

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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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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