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

The road outside of Downing Street was sealed off with steel barricades, and there was a heavy police presence. Karla Adam, Washington Post, "Baby Trump and the Trump robot headline London protests against U.S. president’s visit," 5 June 2019 The road outside 10 Downing Street was sealed off with steel barricades, and there was a heavy police presence. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Protesters take to London streets to oppose Trump," 4 June 2019 That suburban hang out is a major presence in ST3 and is where Steve (Joe Keery) and new character Robin (Maya Hawke) are employed at the ice cream shop, Scoops Ahoy. Tim Stack,, "New Stranger Things 3 poster offers clues to top-secret plot," 4 June 2019 In the years since, Bentley has been a constant presence on country radio, while touring with Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley and Miranda Lambert, as well as headlining his own gigs. Ross Raihala, Twin Cities, "Dierks Bentley is the final act announced for the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand," 4 June 2019 The little prince has been a regular presence in the calendar for the past few years. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "See A New, Rare Portrait of the Adorable Dragon Prince of Bhutan," 31 May 2019 Christy Turlington and Gisele Bundchen are a routine presence at her Tribeca studio. Taryn Toomey, Glamour, "How Fitness Guru Taryn Toomey Got "Obsessed" with Cash Flow and Created Jennifer Aniston's Favorite Workout," 9 Apr. 2019 The activists in red cloaks and white bonnets have been an almost daily presence since the House first passed the measure earlier this month. Ben Nadler, The Seattle Times, "‘Heartbeat’ abortion ban heads to Georgia governor’s desk," 31 Mar. 2019 Cunningham was a reliable presence among collectors, cosplayers, and droid builders. Alexander Huls, Popular Mechanics, "The Great Star Wars Heist," 7 Mar. 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

7 Jun 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

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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