ex·​is·​tence ig-ˈzi-stən(t)s How to pronounce existence (audio)
: the state or fact of having being especially independently of human consciousness and as contrasted with nonexistence
the existence of other worlds
: the manner of being that is common to every mode of being
: being with respect to a limiting condition or under a particular aspect
: actual or present occurrence
existence of a state of war
: the totality of existent things
: a particular being
all the fair existences of heavenJohn Keats
: sentient or living being : life
: reality as presented in experience
obsolete : reality as opposed to appearance

Example Sentences

She began to doubt the existence of God. the existence of UFO's is something that people continue to argue about
Recent Examples on the Web Red wine and other dark red stains are stubborn, thanks to the existence of tannins that act as dyes. Kelley Rebori, Popular Mechanics, 20 Jan. 2023 Wall also noted that the National Archives had not commented publicly on either case until news reports alerted the public to the existence of each. Sarah Westwood, Washington Examiner, 18 Jan. 2023 Sophia's past trauma and other factors that led to a very troubled existence. Arkansas Online, 5 Jan. 2023 Taylor is a genre painter for whom art is itself integral to ordinary existence. Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, 8 Dec. 2022 Ultimately, this points to the existence of Lohan in each of their respective lives. Joey Nolfi, EW.com, 12 Nov. 2022 The person at the window is both secluded from the world and connected to all existence. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 11 Nov. 2022 The nation-wide protests are one of the most significant challenges to the existence the Islamic Republic of Iran since its founding in 1979. Benjamin Weinthal, Fox News, 3 Nov. 2022 Jackson doesn’t object to the existence of sperm and egg donation. Sarah Todd, Quartz, 3 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'existence.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English, borrowed from Middle French existence, existance, borrowed from Late Latin existentia, exsistentia, noun derivative of existent-, existens/exsistent-, exsistens "having being, existent"

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3d

Time Traveler
The first known use of existence was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near existence

Cite this Entry

“Existence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/existence. Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


: the fact or the state of having being or of being real
the largest animal in existence
: the state of being alive : life
owed my existence to a doctor's skill

More from Merriam-Webster on existence

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