ex·​ist | \ ig-ˈzist How to pronounce exist (audio) \
existed; existing; exists

Definition of exist

intransitive verb

1a : to have real being whether material or spiritual did unicorns exist the largest galaxy known to exist
b : to have being in a specified place or with respect to understood limitations or conditions strange ideas existed in his mind
2 : to continue to be racism still exists in society
3a : to have life or the functions of vitality we cannot exist without oxygen
b : to live at an inferior level or under adverse circumstances the hungry existing from day to day

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for exist



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of exist in a Sentence

She believes that ghosts really do exist. It's the largest galaxy known to exist. Does life exist on Mars? The Internet didn't exist then. We shouldn't ignore the problems that exist in our own community. Racism still exists in our society. The organization may soon cease to exist if more funding isn't provided.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web However, this may not be enough to achieve organizational objectives, as barriers to diversity exist beyond the initial resume review. Ted Sergott, Forbes, 8 June 2021 Where policies do exist, their implementations are unique. Zoe Christen Jones, CBS News, 7 June 2021 While similar data don’t exist yet for 2020, the last year did coincide with a dramatic climb in overdose deaths. oregonlive, 6 June 2021 So long as tests exist, teachers will teach to the test. Daniel Buck, National Review, 6 June 2021 This last argument can be questioned, as methods do exist which allow scientists to modify viral sequences without leaving a trace. Virginie Courtier, Quartz, 4 June 2021 The original prototype performed more than 100 flights, but a second one was never completed because the engines for vertical takeoff actually didn't exist. Jacopo Prisco, CNN, 3 June 2021 Some filmmakers said the story was a tough one to tell because much of the content doesn’t exist anymore. Fox News, 31 May 2021 My mother and father had spent a decade of my life acting as if the other person didn’t exist, but learning my dad had omitted me from his backstory was crushing. Nicole Antonio, Condé Nast Traveler, 31 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exist.' 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 exist

circa 1568, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for exist

Latin exsistere to come into being, exist, from ex- + sistere to stand, stop; akin to Latin stare to stand — more at stand

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about exist

Time Traveler for exist

Time Traveler

The first known use of exist was circa 1568

See more words from the same year

Statistics for exist

Last Updated

13 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Exist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exist. Accessed 14 Jun. 2021.

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

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for exist



English Language Learners Definition of exist

: to have actual being : to be real
: to continue to be or to live


ex·​ist | \ ig-ˈzist How to pronounce exist (audio) \
existed; existing

Kids Definition of exist

1 : to have actual being : be real Do unicorns exist?
2 : to be found : occur Problems exist in every neighborhood.
3 : to continue to live She barely earned enough to exist.

More from Merriam-Webster on exist

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for exist

Nglish: Translation of exist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exist for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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