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

Example Sentences

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 Informed by the presence of the suspicious men in and around the event center, the warning urged the jewelers to take precautions while departing the facility. Daniel Miller, Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2022 As a result, there are fish that thrash and those that deep dive; some are more active at night and others that are easily spooked by human presence. Lewis Gordon, Washington Post, 18 Nov. 2022 Neither queen was intimidated by the presence of a former winner, Canada's Drag Race season 2 champ Icesis Couture, on the cast. Joey Nolfi,, 17 Nov. 2022 The victims—one of them only three years old—woke up bloodied and bruised, with a feeling of having been assaulted by an unplaceable presence. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, 14 Nov. 2022 In the third set, though, Arcadia made its charge, guided by the steadying presence of senior setter Tatum Longnecker, who finished with 34 assists. Theo Mackie, The Arizona Republic, 12 Nov. 2022 The unrest, at the tail end of Mr. Netanyahu’s last term, was fueled in part by the presence of Mr. Ben-Gvir and extremist Jewish gangs at flashpoints in East Jerusalem and central Israel. Neri Zilber, The Christian Science Monitor, 10 Nov. 2022 They are further subdivided by the presence or absence of a protein on the red blood cells known as rhesus factor, according to Healthline. Fox News, 7 Nov. 2022 And do his own supporters, energized by his presence in the race in '16 and '20, turn out or fade into the background without his name on the ticket? Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, 6 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

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 2 Dec. 2022.

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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