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

But the city and Northeast Ohio presently lack the political will and regional partnerships needed to tackle such a big issue. Steven Litt,, "Should Burke Lakefront Airport close? Coalition keeps important question alive – Steven Litt," 11 Aug. 2019 The conference title game, presently played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., will move to the new Raiders Stadium off the Las Vegas Strip in 2020 and 2021, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott announced Wednesday. James Crepea | The Oregonian/oregonlive,, "Pac-12 football championship game moving to Las Vegas in 2020-21," 24 July 2019 That’s significant because Chinese shoppers are presently the world’s biggest buyers of luxury, and China is a key part of the important Asia-Pacific market for Dolce & Gabbana. Marc Bain, Quartzy, "Chinese web users have shunned Dolce & Gabbana since its racism controversy," 19 July 2019 Injury report: There presently are six players on the physically unable to perform list who can be activated at any time during camp. Bob Mcmanaman, azcentral, "No-huddle communication an early priority for Arizona Cardinals," 26 July 2019 Her goal is to move back into her home — presently a skeletal maze of wood — before the new school year. Washington Post, "Residents hit by 2 hurricanes face wait for long-term funds," 25 July 2019 As for technical risk, NASA needs new lunar landers and spacesuits, neither of which presently exist. Author: Marcia Dunn, Anchorage Daily News, "Moon back in NASA’s court 50 years after 1st lunar landing," 22 July 2019 Similarly, based on the evidence presently available, the NFL cannot conclude that Mr. Hill violated the Personal Conduct Policy. . . . Will Hobson,, "Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill won’t be suspended, NFL says," 19 July 2019 Similarly, based on the evidence presently available, the NFL cannot conclude that Mr. Hill violated the Personal Conduct Policy. Mark Inabinett |, al, "All-Pro Tyreek Hill won’t be suspended, NFL announces," 19 July 2019

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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Statistics for presently

Last Updated

17 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for presently

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

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More Definitions for presently



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

Comments on presently

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


of or relating to the heavens

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