pres·​ence | \ˈpre-zᵊn(t)s \

Definition of presence 

1 : the fact or condition of being present (see present entry 3)

2a : the part of space within one's immediate vicinity

b : the neighborhood of one of superior especially royal rank

3 archaic : company sense 2a

4 : one that is present: such as

a : the actual person or thing that is present

b : something present of a visible or concrete nature

5a : the bearing, carriage, or air of a person especially : stately or distinguished bearing

b : a noteworthy quality of poise and effectiveness the actor's commanding presence

6 : something (such as a spirit) felt or believed to be present

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Synonyms for presence


company, sight

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Examples of presence in a Sentence

Bacteria sense their neighbors and respond to the presence of others in the colony by exchanging small molecules and bits of proteins called peptides … — Susan Gaidos, Science News, 17 Jan. 2009 Though because it is a seaside town, there are more people now that it's summer.  … As well, their presence means that our few restaurants—dark through the snowy months—are open now, their lights burning merrily into the summer evenings. — Richard Ford, Wall Street Journal, 14-15 June 2008 The two authors suggest that war is better understood as a form of play than as a place of business, that Clausewitzian theory collapses into absurdity in the presence of atomic weapons. — Lewis H. Lapham, Harper's, September 2007 men should watch their language when in the presence of ladies the orchestra's musical director has a very stately presence
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Recent Examples on the Web

Trump’s presence highlighted the divisions of the race, as well as the broader fault lines of American politics that have grown more intense over this year’s midterms. Matt Viser, The Seattle Times, "Democrats work to energize African Americans in Mississippi Senate runoff," 26 Nov. 2018 About 50 proteins came from blood plasma, and their presence suggests bleeding gums. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Medieval dental plaque sheds light on how our microbiomes have changed," 25 Nov. 2018 Whatever happens next, DeepMind’s presence in the UK has changed irrevocably. James Vincent, The Verge, "Privacy advocates sound the alarm after Google grabs DeepMind UK health app," 14 Nov. 2018 Researchers would learn of its presence by passing the aluminum through a superconducting loop — a device that picks up weak magnetic fields. Adam Hadhazy, Discover Magazine, "Scientists Hunt for A Seeming Paradox: A Magnet With Only One Pole," 13 Nov. 2018 The sentiment was echoed by close friends like Prabal Gurung and Jeremy Scott, who underscored the importance of Dello Russo’s presence as both a creative and constant source of inspiration. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "The Stars Came Out to Toast Anna Dello Russo’s Beyond Fashion," 11 Sep. 2018 Since yesterday, Apple Podcasts, Facebook and YouTube — where the Alex Jones channel had more than 2.4 million subscribers — have removed Jones’s presence from their sites, generally citing violations of their terms of service around hate content. Dan Frommer, Recode, "Apple, YouTube and Facebook won’t silence Alex Jones and Infowars — but their bans will sharply limit his reach," 6 Aug. 2018 Guerra’s presence on the big-league roster is mainly because Drew Rucinski and Tayron Guerrero are on the disabled list right now. Mike Persak,, "Marlins' Javy Guerra seeks permanent spot in majors," 14 July 2018 Urban Art Gallery’s presence has inspired the idea to transform the corridor, which also includes Hakim’s Bookstore and the Bushfire Theatre, into an arts district. Valerie Russ,, "Part safe space, part beacon, West Philly's Urban Art Gallery 'bridges the gap between violence and peace'," 11 July 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for presence

see present entry 3

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Statistics for presence

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for presence

The first known use of presence was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for presence



English Language Learners Definition of presence

: the fact of being in a particular place : the state of being present

: the area that is close to someone

: someone or something that is seen or noticed in a particular place, area, etc.


pres·​ence | \ˈpre-zᵊns \

Kids Definition of presence

1 : the fact or condition of being in a certain place No one noticed the stranger's presence.

2 : position close to a person The child is shy in the presence of strangers.

3 : a person's appearance or manner The actor has great presence on stage.

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Comments on presence

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


a knickknack or trinket

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