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


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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 the orchestra's musical director has a very stately presence
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Recent Examples on the Web The Safira players represent the local Brazilian presence in the game, dating to the club’s founding in 2007., 7 June 2021 During the same period, U.S. companies—the biggest international presence in Hong Kong—closed 45 headquarters and offices, or 6% of their total, government figures show. John Lyons, WSJ, 6 June 2021 Boeing is the leading manufacturer of 100+ seat aircraft for the global commercial airplane industry, with a strong presence in the defense contracting business. Trefis Team, Forbes, 4 June 2021 That does happen sometimes: Yue Bao, currently the conducting fellow at the Houston Symphony and a major presence in that orchestra’s streaming over the past year, will make her debut with the Chicago Symphony at the Ravinia Festival this summer. New York Times, 4 June 2021 There would have needed to have been a sustained military presence of the Union Army in the south, and/or the formerly enslaved would have had to have been armed to protect themselves. Kevin T. Dugan, Rolling Stone, 4 June 2021 Larry Collmus, who currently calls the Triple Crown races and Breeders’ Cup for NBC, filled in and quickly established a presence in the Del Mar booth. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, 3 June 2021 Amid tensions with the U.S. and its allies, Moscow has for years sought to reestablish a regular naval presence in various parts of the world that the Soviet Union had during the Cold War times. Star Tribune, 2 June 2021 The United States decisively defeated the Tripolitan navy, and established a continuing presence in the Mediterranean. David F. Eisner, National Review, 31 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for presence

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for presence

Last Updated

9 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Presence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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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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