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

On Sunday morning, there was little police presence near the sculpture, and no efforts were made to prevent people from touching or climbing on the bull., "As visitors gathered around the bull Sunday morning, a guide from a passing double-decker tour bus directed attention to the sculpture. “That’s the gash,” he said. “See, that’s the gash.”," 10 Sep. 2019 The opposition celebrated Sunday’s election results that would cut the pro-government presence in the Moscow city council from 38 to 25 but many expressed disappointment with what has been perceived as an unfair registration process. Washington Post, "Strong showing for opposition in Moscow city election," 10 Sep. 2019 In his Sunday interviews, Pompeo defended the initial decision for Trump to meet with the Taliban at Camp David and argued that the president had been willing to take a political risk to achieve a deal on reducing the U.S. troop presence. Karen Deyoung, Anchorage Daily News, "Collapse of Afghanistan peace talks spotlights internal Trump administration divisions," 9 Sep. 2019 The event, which will be held 100 years from the Hamm Building’s 1919 opening date, will celebrate the building’s retail presence, said property manager Kristel Hansen. Michelle Griffith, Twin Cities, "100th anniversary of the Hamm Building in downtown St. Paul to be celebrated Thursday," 9 Sep. 2019 Photos from the scene showed a large police presence in a residential neighborhood and at least one ambulance parked in the street as people stood in the street looking on. Fox News, "Dutch cop suspected of killing 2 children, self: police," 9 Sep. 2019 Her best friend, Olivia (Madelyn Cline) is a near-constant presence, worrying about Charlotte, but the character never goes beyond that one note. Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Giant': Film Review | TIFF 2019," 8 Sep. 2019 Mark Balmert, executive director of the San Diego Military Advisory Council, said Davis has been a strong supporter of the military community throughout her career, a constant presence at SDMAC’s community events and an eager listener. San Diego Union-Tribune, "As Rep. Susan Davis departs, San Diego loses its longest serving member and ‘true public servant’," 8 Sep. 2019 On Saturday, protesters were being encouraged to gather at the airport from about midday to demonstrate, resulting in a heavy police presence at the terminal and its approaching roads. Ben Westcott, CNN, "Hong Kong protesters threaten new airport disruptions after street clashes with police," 7 Sep. 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

13 Sep 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).


to spread over or through

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