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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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

The Japanese drug maker Otsuka Pharmaceutical has signed a deal to buy Waltham, Mass.-based Visterra for $430 million, the latest example of a foreign pharmaceutical company establishing a presence in the white-hot Massachusetts biotech cluster. Jonathan Saltzman — Boston Globe, STAT, "Otsuka Pharma signs $430m deal to buy Visterra and its antibody therapies," 11 July 2018 But while the coalition has focused on an area east of the Euphrates River along the Iraqi border, Islamic State has a presence in another area west of the river. Nancy A. Youssef, WSJ, "ISIS Remnants Fight On, Despite U.S. Campaign," 9 July 2018 The deal will further shrink BP's presence in Alaska — the company sold some fields to Hilcorp in 2014 — though BP still operates Prudhoe Bay, the largest oil field in the state. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "BP to exit large Alaska oil field in swap with ConocoPhillips," 3 July 2018 Foreign institutional investors with a presence in China have been allowed to buy them for more than two years (see chart). The Economist, "Why foreigners are keen buyers of Chinese government bonds," 28 June 2018 The route would serve bucket-list travelers, but some observers also see it as a geopolitical move, part of China’s long game to establish a presence at the pole to gain future access to its coal, oil and other as-yet-unclaimed resources. Sasha Issenberg, Smithsonian, "Fifty Years Ago, Airline Diplomacy Sought to Bring the U.S. and U.S.S.R. Closer Together," 27 June 2018 That said, the presence of complex organic molecules is not a smoking gun for alien life on Enceladus. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "Saturn's Moon Enceladus Is Spewing Complex Organic Molecules Into Space," 27 June 2018 Extreme right-wing groups also have a significant presence on platforms such as YouTube and Facebook. Stuart Macdonald, Scientific American, "How Tech Companies Are Trying to Disrupt Terrorist Social Media Activity," 26 June 2018 The East Oak Street Nortenos, a new subset of the Nortenos gang that has had a presence in Stockton since the 1970s, has been on law enforcement's radar for the past year and a half, said Officer Joseph Silva of the Stockton Police Department. Julia Sclafani, sacbee, "Data-driven policing leads to gang arrests in 3 Stockton homicides," 21 June 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

11 Oct 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).


to reject or criticize sharply

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