pres·​ence ˈpre-zᵊn(t)s How to pronounce presence (audio)
: the fact or condition of being present (see present entry 3)
: the part of space within one's immediate vicinity
: the neighborhood of one of superior especially royal rank
archaic : company sense 2a
: one that is present: such as
: the actual person or thing that is present
: something present of a visible or concrete nature
: the bearing, carriage, or air of a person
especially : stately or distinguished bearing
: a noteworthy quality of poise and effectiveness
the actor's commanding presence
: something (such as a spirit) felt or believed to be present

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
Recent Examples on the Web Your superpowers are pivotal in building a strong brand presence, enhancing performance, and delivering tangible benefits to your stakeholders. William Arruda, Forbes, 18 Feb. 2024 As Clyde, Tanya Alexander has the fiercely intimidating presence of a woman worn down by life but bitterly determined to survive. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Feb. 2024 Early attacks At well over 6 feet tall, Navalny was once a towering presence. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, 16 Feb. 2024 Swift has been a frequent presence at Chiefs games, including the Super Bowl in Las Vegas, cheering on her boyfriend, tight end Travis Kelce. Jenna Thompson, Kansas City Star, 16 Feb. 2024 The presence of so much law enforcement infrastructure on the course has at times created tension with the city of Eagle Pass, which oversees its operation. J. David Goodman, New York Times, 16 Feb. 2024 In an essay for PEOPLE published in this week's issue, Ziggy remembers his dad as a playful presence whose spirituality and discipline inspires his family to this day. Rachel Desantis, Peoplemag, 6 Feb. 2024 Royal Caribbean did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sebastian’s presence on the cruise. Moises Mendez Ii, TIME, 5 Feb. 2024 The drums on this track sound thunderous in the default EQ mode, but there's still plenty of room for Callahan’s rich baritone vocals, which get some additional treble presence. PCMAG, 5 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'presence.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see present entry 3

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near presence

Cite this Entry

“Presence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


pres·​ence ˈprez-ᵊn(t)s How to pronounce presence (audio)
: the fact or state of being present
no one noticed the stranger's presence
: position close to a person
in the presence of a guest
: a person's appearance
a stately presence
: something felt or believed to be present
a ghostly presence

More from Merriam-Webster on presence

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