pres·​ence | \ ˈpre-zᵊn(t)s How to pronounce presence (audio) \

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

As many as 500 people are expected to attend Code Pink’s protest — one of several planned Thursday by activists opposed to the president’s presence during the holiday festivities. Washington Post, "Here’s how to navigate the July 4th festivities— and protests," 2 July 2019 His children persuade him to let Alf stay, but the creature’s presence causes constant conflict. Amisha Padnani, New York Times, "Max Wright, Who Went From Theater Roles to ‘ALF,’ Dies at 75," 2 July 2019 Steel Tie Spirits was founded by Ben Etheridge and his late father, Clint, who died in May. But Clint’s presence is still felt in the tasting room: His portrait hangs next to the bar. Emmakate Austin,, "Steel Tie Spirits distillery in West Palm Beach rich in history," 1 July 2019 But there’s no comparison in terms of clubhouse presence. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Newman vs. Kiz: Can DJ LeMahieu get Larry Walker elected to the Hall of Fame?," 1 July 2019 In a memorable moment on the first night, Representative Tim Ryan, of Ohio, withered in a confrontation with Representative Tulsi Gabbard, of Hawaii, about the U.S. military’s presence in Afghanistan. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, "The Democratic Primary’s Moving Margins," 30 June 2019 Gregg Popovich also values Gay’s positive presence in the locker room. Nick Talbot,, "Writers’ Roundtable: How is NBA Free Agency going to play out?," 29 June 2019 Nor is Trump the first president to fall victim to the reality that even for an enigmatic leader whose public presence seems all-consuming at first, eventually other world events or colorful characters compete for attention. Josh Lederman, NBC News, "As Democrats debate, for once it's not all about Trump," 28 June 2019 Physicians have been stepping up their criticism of the CDC guideline and the DEA’s presence in their medical practices. STAT, "Stop persecuting doctors for legitimately prescribing opioids for chronic pain," 28 June 2019

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

5 Jul 2019

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 How to pronounce presence (audio) \

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

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