Definition of existence in US English:



  • 1The fact or state of living or having objective reality.

    ‘the plane was the oldest Boeing remaining in existence’
    ‘the need to acknowledge the existence of a problem’
    • ‘Your brother, Matthew, does not know of your existence at this time.’
    • ‘Selfhood, life and mere existence are meaningless if not suffused with this life-giving force.’
    • ‘Although 0% credit cards haven't actually been in existence for that long it's hard to remember a time before them!’
    • ‘In fact, this arrangement may be the only one in existence anywhere in the United States.’
    • ‘Whatever their limitations - and there are many - the passions are a prerequisite of everyday human existence.’
    • ‘It's one of the few publications in existence that is actually eminently more readable on the Net than it is on paper.’
    • ‘He was called away from temporal existence on November 12.’
    • ‘He has always written songs with a message and can claim to have been preaching the green gospel long before the Green Party came into existence.’
    • ‘Despite the fact that the club has only been in existence for a short time, both teams acquitted themselves well.’
    • ‘I was so stunned to know he acknowledged my mere existence.’
    • ‘In fact, its existence was barely acknowledged.’
    • ‘What we discovered was truly frightening and made us question our own existence in this strange, strange world.’
    • ‘Heralded the most valuable natural object in existence, on a weight to weight basis, experts believe that the diamond is the only one of its kind.’
    • ‘I want to enjoy my existence on this earth, be happy and make merry.’
    • ‘Secular humanists are basically atheists who deny the very existence of a personal living God.’
    • ‘I was unaware of its existence at the time I wrote my text.’
    • ‘The orcas in question are already on the endangered list in Canada - and, in fact, there are only 80 in existence.’
    • ‘He had found that an atheist is one who denies the existence of God.’
    • ‘She stares at me like I'm the stupidest human being in existence.’
    • ‘In fact, there's only one other similar document in existence.’
    alive, existing, extant, existent
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    1. 1.1 Continued survival.
      ‘she helped to keep the company alive when its very existence was threatened’
      • ‘Our existence on the planet is ecologically intimately bound to the life of trees.’
      • ‘Even so, the company says the cars are not selling well enough to justify their continued existence.’
      • ‘It's not a threat to national security, it's not threatening the continued existence of Australia as a nation state, or anything like that.’
      • ‘The Jewish working class, not entirely without reason, identified its own survival with the continued existence of this state.’
      • ‘Bedouin existence depended on their herds and flocks.’
      • ‘The series is named after a unit in the Metropolitan Police, whose continued existence the force will neither confirm nor deny.’
      • ‘Everyday there is a new crisis of modernity that threatens our continued existence.’
      • ‘Unity with nature is the foundation of man's existence on the planet.’
      • ‘Why use that excuse to justify the continued existence of slavery?’
      • ‘Do I then believe that human existence depends on social and economic changes?’
      • ‘Parts of both have survived into the 21st century, but their continued existence is precarious.’
      • ‘The candidates for this system were generally documents whose continued existence would very likely undermine the legitimacy of the State.’
      • ‘The commercial director has been charged with the job of getting the club's finances back in order with the serious situation threatening its very existence.’
      • ‘They see that military operations have increased and pose a threat to our people's existence and survival as a culture and ethnic entity.’
      • ‘Therefore, our existence on earth is linked to our ability to see solar eclipses.’
      • ‘The world yet again faces another mind-boggling issue which threatens the existence of human beings on planet earth.’
      • ‘It would fool people into thinking that by joining and supporting the aims of Countryside Ireland that they are supporting the existence of rural Ireland.’
      • ‘Whenever we attended we found ourselves in pointless meetings with people justifying their own existence.’
      • ‘These leaders realised that if this madness continued the very existence of the people was at stake.’
      • ‘Their thoughts are controlled by men, and their very existence depends on men.’
      • ‘Single-party regimes enjoy continued existence, in part, because they enjoy an air of infallibility.’
      actuality, being, existing, reality, fact
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    2. 1.2 A way of living.
      ‘living in a city was more expensive than a rural existence’
      • ‘People living a hand-to-mouth existence are turning to ' buy-back stores' to get their hands on ready money.’
      • ‘However, surviving on minimal water resources could result in farmers having to lead a precarious existence, depending heavily on seasonal rains.’
      • ‘The fact that we would have to eke out a miserable existence as rural farmers has not occurred to them.’
      • ‘Yet they lead a tough existence, working very hard, barely eking out a living under frequently demeaning circumstances.’
      • ‘In their daily lives Americans, and not only those living in smaller communities, lead an impoverished existence.’
      • ‘People here live a hand-to-mouth existence, picking through the trash for something of value.’
      • ‘Most of the people live a subsistence existence, obtaining a living from growing rice, goats, poultry or fishing.’
      • ‘No matter how people try to maintain a normal existence, there is an underlying hysteria waiting to rear its pulsating head.’
      • ‘An odd sort of surrealness has glazed over the events of the past two weeks as I continue my relatively peaceful existence on my college campus.’
      • ‘No doubt, the number of survivors eking out a precarious existence must far exceed the death toll.’
      • ‘After living on a commune, he and his wife moved to Burlington, joining so many other back-to-the-landers looking to flee their harried urban existences.’
      • ‘I believe it is to enable us to lead a civilised domestic life where we can conduct a sociable existence while at the same time providing hospitality for our friends and family.’
      • ‘The reward for the risk taken pays rent, feeds children, and supports a subsistence level existence.’
      • ‘This album is entirely a product of living and coping with a city existence.’
      • ‘Enlisting Crumb's help, he writes a series that chronicles his mundane, day-to-day existence.’
      • ‘Such an existence would be indescribably chaotic, no underlying reason or logic behind anything.’
      • ‘In a frequently harsh, small-scale subsistence existence, people were all too aware of nature and her awesome powers.’
      • ‘Freedom from physical threats and safe living conditions are the foundations of a dignified existence just as much as civic and human rights.’
      • ‘No matter how you tried to live a stress-free existence, always there would be something to get you all riled up.’
      • ‘Muddling along and having panic attacks a year or two before your child has to attend secondary school or university is not conducive to a stress-free existence.’
      way of life, way of living, manner of living, life, lifestyle, circumstances, situation
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    3. 1.3 Any of a person's supposed current, future, or past lives on this earth.
      ‘reaping the consequences of evil deeds sown in previous existences’
      • ‘I suggested, maybe, that he'd have the chef cook me a fresh one - the miserable lump was not only cold but had been burnt in a previous existence.’
      • ‘Many people have experimented with past life regression under hypnosis and claim to recall experiences from previous existences.’
      • ‘But I'm not a believer in past lives, so I knew it was no echo from a previous existence.’
      • ‘We were vulnerable to one another, having changed roles and forms countless times in previous existences.’
      • ‘An individual's role throughout life is fixed by his or her good and evil deeds in a previous existence.’
      • ‘Some may know that I will admit to having had a violin in my possession in a previous existence.’
      • ‘There is no doubt that he (who observes a fast on that day) is freed from the sin due to speech, mental sin or especially bodily sin committed during the seven existences.’
      • ‘She was saying that Alice Hraldy has been able to contact the entity that had been J.S. Bach in a previous existence.’
      • ‘In previous existences, this electronic engineer brought cable TV to Sligo and helped get Sligo airport off the ground.’
      • ‘Of a previous existence I know no more than others, for all have stammering intimations that may be memories and may be dreams.’
      • ‘Both could recall memories of previous existences on Earth and indeed this idea is a very natural one given the cyclical nature of time as observed in the seasons and years.’
      • ‘The purpose of such rites is to separate people from a previous existence.’
      • ‘In a previous existence Ms Honeyball was a probation officer, dedicated to keeping real criminals out of jail in order to make room for villains like Mr Bloom.’
      • ‘Dr. Allan thinks he has met Dr. Bernadette before (in a previous existence, it is strongly implied).’
    4. 1.4 All that exists.
      • ‘Eventually the stars would burn out and a curtain of frozen darkness would enshroud all existence.’
      • ‘I don't know, and don't care, because in either case it does not affect my reality and my place in existence.’
    5. 1.5archaic A being or entity.
      • ‘There is no limit to the ever-increasing number of deified existences.’


Late Middle English: from Old French, or from late Latin existentia, from Latin exsistere ‘come into being’, from ex- ‘out’ + sistere ‘take a stand’.