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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for exist


be, breathe, live, subsist


depart, die, expire, pass away, perish, succumb

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The existing walkway would tie together the memorial, playground, ball fields, basketball, and tennis courts. Cincinnati.com, "Park plan: Veterans memorial could anchor Fairfield Twp.'s Millikin Road Park," 16 Sep. 2019 Ghossein also gives short shrift to Marwan’s spouse, Rana, who is seen in the opening and once at the Canadian embassy but who doesn’t otherwise exist as a character at all — much like Joumana, the only woman hiding away with the men. Boyd Van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter, "'All This Victory' ('Jeedar El Sot'): Film Review | Venice 2019," 15 Sep. 2019 After all, mental health does not exist in a silo, and neither should treatment for mental illness. Jill Wiedemann-west, Twin Cities, "Jill Wiedemann-West: Suicide is a public-health threat — but there are reasons to hope and ways to help," 15 Sep. 2019 For the most part research support offices don’t exist, and applications are largely driven by an individual’s intellect, grit and determination to succeed, with little institutional support. Thomas Kariuki, Quartz Africa, "African universities are battling to attract post-doctoral researchers," 31 Aug. 2019 Fitbit has peppered both devices and the app with collaborations, from its existing partnerships with Spotify and Solera Health to newer ones with such varied entities as the meditation app Headspace and rescue beacon manufacturer Recco. Adrienne So, WIRED, "Fitbit Wants to Be Your One-Stop Health Care Shop," 28 Aug. 2019 Instead, the data—already secured by the CBP—is being matched with an existing photo. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Airlines and Airports Use Your Data, From Security to the Flight Itself," 28 Aug. 2019 The sheer number of fires presents a huge challenge, though many of the fires are concentrated along existing roadways. oregonlive.com, "What you need to know about the Amazon rainforest fires," 27 Aug. 2019 Access to the parking areas will be created at the base of the city of San Diego’s trail, north of the existing Cal Fire Station driveway at 16310 SR-67. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Planners review Woodson parking, evacuation plan," 13 Sep. 2019

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.

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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

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Statistics for exist

Last Updated

9 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for exist

The first known use of exist was circa 1568

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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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on exist

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with exist

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for exist

Spanish Central: Translation of exist

Nglish: Translation of exist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exist for Arabic Speakers

Comments on exist

What made you want to look up exist? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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