pres·​ent·​ly | \ ˈpre-zᵊnt-lē How to pronounce presently (audio) \

Definition of presently

1a archaic : at once
b : without undue delay : before long
2 : at the present time : now

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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

I cannot attend to the matter this instant, but I will presently. we are presently waiting in line for our turn
Recent Examples on the Web Is this team, as presently constructed, better or worse than last year’s Celtics team that kind of flamed out? Rohan Nadkarni,, "The Four Most Interesting NBA Training Camp Storylines," 25 Sep. 2019 Because of this, there are no public utilities presently serving the site, wetlands need mitigation, and mass grading was not performed on the site when the area was prepared for the business park. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Arena Americas moving to a new facility in Oak Creek," 16 May 2018 Those tests, done through blood samples, determined which employees are carrying the antibodies for the virus but are not considered as reliable as the PCR test for determining if someone is presently infected with COVID-19. al, "As cases rise at the jail, Mobile begins to test all guards and employees," 5 May 2020 Out-of-state anglers and hunters presently can’t buy Ohio non-resident licenses. cleveland, "Lake Erie fishing charters can return May 12, not May 1, as coronavirus restrictions lift," 1 May 2020 It will be manifested on the US Space Force rideshare mission known as USSF-44, presently scheduled for a late 2020 launch. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: A new Starship moves to the pad, Iran’s surprise launch," 24 Apr. 2020 The Hope isn't very good at explaining how all of the structure that is built around Goodall and enables her to have an impact came to be or presently operates. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "New Jane Goodall documentary fills in some blanks left by an earlier biopic," 21 Apr. 2020 The bidet attachment is still in its box, being used as a doorstop, and will eventually be returned for hopefully every last cent since my live stand-up comedy income has presently dried up. Cameron Esposito, Bon Appétit, "What To Do When Your Girlfriend Gets Sick? Make Soup," 20 Apr. 2020 However, please note that their centers are presently closed until the coronavirus stay-at-home orders are lifted. Rebecca Maitland, Houston Chronicle, "Here’s where to look for tax-prep answers this year," 16 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'presently.' 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 presently

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for presently

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for presently

Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Presently.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for presently


How to pronounce presently (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of presently

: during the time that is happening now : at the present time
: after a short time


pres·​ent·​ly | \ ˈpre-zᵊnt-lē How to pronounce presently (audio) \

Kids Definition of presently

1 : before long : soon He searched … for fallen limbs of trees; presently he found a … branch.— Virginia Hamilton, M. C. Higgins
2 : at the present time : now She's presently at home.

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More from Merriam-Webster on presently

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for presently

Spanish Central: Translation of presently

Nglish: Translation of presently for Spanish Speakers

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