presently

play
adverb pres·ent·ly \ˈpre-zənt-lē\

Definition of presently

  1. 1a archaic :  at onceb :  without undue delay :  before long

  2. 2 :  at the present time :  now

Usage of presently

Both senses 1b and 2 are flourishing in current English, but many commentators have objected to sense 2. Since this sense has been in continuous use since the 15th century, it is not clear why it is objectionable. Perhaps a note in the Oxford English Dictionary (1909) that the sense has been obsolete since the 17th century in literary English is to blame, but the note goes on to observe that the sense is in regular use in most English dialects. The last citation in that dictionary is from a 1901 Leeds newspaper, written in Standard English. Sense 2 is most common in contexts relating to business and politics. the fastest-rising welfare cost is Medicaid, presently paid by the states and cities — William Safire

Examples of presently in a Sentence

  1. I cannot attend to the matter this instant, but I will presently.

  2. we are presently waiting in line for our turn

14th Century

First Known Use of presently

14th century


PRESENTLY Defined for English Language Learners

presently

play
adverb

Definition of presently for English Language Learners

  • : during the time that is happening now : at the present time

  • : after a short time


PRESENTLY Defined for Kids

presently

play
adverb pres·ent·ly \ˈpre-zənt-lē\

Definition of presently for Students

  1. 1 :  before long :  soon He searched … for fallen limbs of trees; presently he found a … branch. — Virginia Hamilton, M. C. Higgins

  2. 2 :  at the present time :  now She's presently at home.



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to glide in or as if in an airplane

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • istock-refers-to-this-as-a-tumble-of-strawberries-which-sounded-pretty-nice-to-us
  • Which is a synonym of garner?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!