Main definitions of present in English

: present1present2present3



  • 1[predicative] (of a person) in a particular place.

    ‘a doctor must be present at the ringside’
    ‘the speech caused embarrassment to all those present’
    • ‘Military officials have said the order to strike again would not have been given had many bystanders been present.’
    • ‘It is a holy land, which means a place where God is uniquely present and available.’
    • ‘Mr. Connor was present in the Townhall on Friday night but did not attend the event.’
    • ‘People came from far and near to be present for this special ceremony in a church that was rebuilt in 1821.’
    • ‘Friends were present and they called for help - paramedics and firefighters from the Aston station attended.’
    • ‘Insiders ask whether he should have been present rather than delegating decision-making to his chief executive.’
    • ‘Heads turned to see if the visitor was still present and available.’
    • ‘Relatives and friends expend considerable effort to be present when death is near.’
    • ‘All ten of us were present and accounted for as we went down into the subway station for our next ride.’
    • ‘I recently attended a reception in London at which the Queen was present.’
    • ‘He was present, and ready to commence the procedure immediately.’
    • ‘However they were present in large numbers and settled for a short procession inside the church.’
    • ‘She said even if the commission did not require Rowley to attend, he would like to be present to testify.’
    • ‘We have an inside source who was present at the rally and is familiar with the reporters involved.’
    • ‘He said Mr Pepper had attended a funeral at which Frank and Thomas Murphy were present.’
    • ‘Michael's parents, David and Marie, were present to thank everyone for their generosity.’
    in attendance, attending, here, there, near, nearby, at hand, close at hand, near at hand, adjacent, available, ready
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1(of a thing) existing or occurring in a place or thing.
      ‘organic molecules are present in comets’
      • ‘Today we read of three different ways that God is present and available to God's people.’
      • ‘The mercury compound was present in a series of child vaccines available in the UK.’
      • ‘It is estimated that some several million tonnes of CFCs are present in the atmosphere.’
      • ‘In almost all the comets examined, the spots were present only in the head of the comet.’
      • ‘Formaldehyde is just one of several gases present indoors that may cause illnesses.’
      • ‘The next step is to remove any loose or flaking paint that may be present near the joint by scraping or sanding.’
      • ‘In advanced cases, walking without support becomes impossible and pain may be present even during rest.’
      in existence, existing, existent, extant
      View synonyms
  • 2[attributive] Existing or occurring now.

    ‘she did not expect to find herself in her present situation’
    • ‘A tram link between Interchange and Forster Square stations would be slightly better than the present situation.’
    • ‘There is an awful description in use about the present situation - the ‘new normal’.’
    • ‘Independence doesn't necessarily mean isolation, which would be suicidal in the present world situation.’
    • ‘But in his present situation, his dwindling resources could not feed even one mouth.’
    • ‘The present situation is such that harmful chemicals are added for preservation.’
    • ‘All councillors feel that we would like to reverse the situation but the present bed shortage makes this impossible.’
    • ‘Even tourists who make an occasional visit recognise the stupidity of the present situation.’
    • ‘And he described the present situation as one where feelings are still running high.’
    • ‘It will highlight the circumstances that led her into her present situation.’
    • ‘It is to meet with the groups to discuss the difficulties it has with the present legislation.’
    • ‘Could you further discuss what you mean and the present dangers language is facing?’
    • ‘We are all fed up of the present situation, so let's work together on creative solutions and get our lives back.’
    • ‘Outside, the present crop is fattening up and indoors, the remains of last year's produce should see us through.’
    • ‘She has no doubt that the present situation is adding an extra burden to what is already a very traumatic time for people.’
    • ‘Burnley chiefs will gather to discuss the present crisis at Thursday's planned board meeting.’
    • ‘You have said that a unified movement of the peoples of the South is a prerequisite for change in the present situation.’
    • ‘There is still great generosity in the heart of man, even in the present age.’
    • ‘The present situation is intolerable both for the residents and for the Travellers.’
    • ‘More importantly for present purposes, however, it succeeded also under Article 13.’
    • ‘The society's ruling council said it was ‘deeply concerned’ at the present situation.’
    • ‘The present Queen is thought not to be a devotee of theatre.’
    • ‘Conversely, others see the present situation as a buying opportunity.’
    • ‘The present crime situation should serve as a spring-board to unite people of all walks of life.’
    • ‘Given the present situation, it seems that no long or short term planning was ever done to meet the growing power demand.’
    • ‘Scepticism there may be, but the present situation is unsatisfactory and ineffective.’
    • ‘At the present time, none of these questions can be answered with any degree of certainty.’
    • ‘Given the present situation, it would be easy to be cynical about the magnitude of the task.’
    • ‘The present situation is unsatisfactory in many ways, and should not be allowed to continue.’
    current, present-day, existing, contemporary, immediate
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Now being considered or discussed.
      ‘the present article cannot answer every question’
      • ‘I won't go on too much about the root cause of my present worry but I feel that a big part of it has to do with my current living situation.’
      • ‘In my opinion, the answer in the present case should also be no.’
      • ‘The present article is in part based on material drawn from my doctoral dissertation.’
      • ‘The office issued an Article 14 notice, which now puts the present scheme on hold.’
      • ‘The present model adds a new twist to the discussion of how motor reversals are brought about.’
      • ‘The scope of the present text does not facilitate a detailed discussion thereof.’
      • ‘The present discussions follow working-level talks held in the past two days in Seoul.’
      • ‘The present article will discuss some general principles by which music is given clarity and unity.’
      • ‘The present discussion is concerned only with the universal human rights system.’
      • ‘The present application will be discussed by the planning committee next Tuesday.’
      • ‘The present volume aims to provide an answer to this fundamental question.’
      • ‘Some of the major findings of the present study are highlighted and discussed below.’
      • ‘He was of course discussing the present draft guidelines for the conservation of wild Atlantic salmon.’
      • ‘The present answer to that question is that a company's mind is the mind of its senior officers.’
      • ‘In the event, for present purposes, there is a short answer to Mr. Swainston's point.’
      • ‘The possible reasons for the discrepancy in the present data set are discussed later.’
      • ‘But in the present discussion this is not the true comparison at all.’
      • ‘The present article describes the procedure used to share the role of researcher/author.’
      • ‘In the present article, the authors examined mercury in human saliva as a pollutant.’
      • ‘In the main part of the present article we assume that this is always the case.’
    2. 2.2Grammar (of a tense or participle) expressing an action now going on or habitually performed or a condition now existing.
      • ‘The only problem is that it looks or sounds for the most part, therefore, exactly the same as the present tense of the verb.’
      • ‘It should be clear that an apology has to be in the first person, and in the present tense.’
      • ‘Another peculiarity of headlinese is that it is almost always in the present tense.’
      • ‘Most of the worst novels were written in the first person narrative present tense.’
      • ‘Pashto has a rich agreement mechanism, but one that is manifested differently in the present and past tenses.’


  • 1[in singular] The period of time now occurring.

    ‘they are happy and at peace, refusing to think beyond the present’
    • ‘There is even talk of a book on women's cricket detailing its beginnings, its present and its future.’
    • ‘So for now she keeps up her hopes for the future while surviving in the present.’
    • ‘One of the risks of being a historian of the present, of course, is that events can overtake you.’
    • ‘The past that historians portray must be one out of which the present can plausibly have grown.’
    • ‘We have all kinds of ways of imagining the future that distract us from actually living in the present.’
    • ‘If this is to be the future I have condemned myself to, then let my present be a little more noticeable.’
    • ‘The story moves between the present, the past and perhaps a little bit of an uncertain future.’
    • ‘The plight of Aboriginal people today has just as much to do with the past as with the present.’
    • ‘The play is set in the present and covers a period of around one month in Spring.’
    • ‘The present and the future were so much more interesting than the past.’
    • ‘It made you realize that you simply had no control or power over your present or future.’
    • ‘These books, by predicting the future, have the ability to take you out of the present for a few moments.’
    • ‘We cannot let our future be shaped by those who care only about their present.’
    • ‘It offers stunning examples of most every architectural style, from the Middle Ages to the present.’
    • ‘This provides an effective and clever bridge from the past to the present.’
    • ‘The present is always more important than the future because we know little about the future and a fair amount about what is happening now.’
    • ‘In other words, we can use the present to try to explain the past, and the past to explain the present.’
    • ‘Looking deep into Jim's eyes she saw her past, her present and her future.’
    • ‘You see, the game takes place in two time periods: the past and the present.’
    • ‘He wonders if concern about the future prevents us from enjoying the present.’
    now, today, the present time, the here and now, this day and age, the present moment, the time being
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Grammar A present tense.
      ‘the verbs are all in the present’
      • ‘But instead of referring to him in the past tense here, I've referred to him in the present.’
      • ‘Headlines are written in the present: Bus kills man.’


  • at present

    • Now.

      ‘membership at present stands at about 5,000’
      • ‘I would have to look out on to a car park, rather than the trees I see at present.’
      • ‘Petrol prices are very high at present and there have been calls for the government to act to reduce them.’
      • ‘On the Dover-Calais route six ships will be operated compared with seven at present.’
      • ‘The main focus at present in the back to school theme that all school goers must face up to.’
      • ‘If granted, this would allow them to continue the centre's operations as at present.’
      • ‘Michael is in hospital at present and it is hoped that he will soon be back playing cards.’
      • ‘At present there are 164 grammar schools, concentrated mainly in Kent and Yorkshire.’
      • ‘In six years the landfill site will be full and at present there are no plans to dig up more countryside for this.’
      • ‘I doubt that they are all deceased as they were all about my age and I am 70 at present.’
      • ‘This is particularly dedicated to anyone who's going through a bit of a tough patch at present.’
      at the moment, just now, right now, at this time, at the present time, currently, presently, at this moment in time
      in this day and age, nowadays
      View synonyms
  • for the present

    • For now; temporarily.

      • ‘I am also introducing a Finance Bill, seeking to continue the existing tax structure for the present.’
      • ‘I believe that for the present, at least, our major contributions lie in this area.’
      • ‘So he has started working as a media planner in a big advertising agency where he feels comfortable, for the present.’
      • ‘In Turkey's case, it comes a distant second to football, for the present anyway.’
      • ‘Now the Straylands scheme has been stopped, for the present at least, would it not be an opportune time to look at alternatives?’
      • ‘It now appears that the tax credit program is safe for the present.’
      • ‘I don't know how long any of these will stay, but for the present it's enough.’
      • ‘This is nicely mechanical work, not requiring much mental effort, and it suits me for the present.’
      • ‘Marriage is also definitely out of the question for the present.’
      • ‘However, it is understood that the finance for the film has not yet been secured and it is on hold for the present.’
      • ‘The bus service which was operating from the Coleman car park has been suspended for the present.’
      for the time being, for now, for the moment, for a while, in the meanwhile, in the meantime, provisionally, temporarily, pro tem
      for the nonce
      View synonyms
  • (there is) no time like the present

    • Used to suggest that something should be done now rather than later.

      ‘“When do you want me to leave?” “No time like the present.”’
      • ‘But nevertheless, no time like the present to begin.’
      • ‘If you haven't had a chance to contribute yet, well… there's no time like the present!’
      • ‘Well, no time like the present to correct an old mistake.’
      • ‘‘We have to start winning soon,’ he said, ‘and there's no time like the present.’’
      • ‘There's no time like the present to raft through the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.’
  • present company excepted

    • Excluding those who are here now.

      • ‘He is a really smart guy, he's been managing editor of ‘The New York Times’ and he has been writing I would say the best column in American journalism over the past two years, present company excepted.’
      • ‘Everybody I know is dead now, present company excepted.’
      • ‘Well, I think we do know that the television media - present company excepted of course - have not been giving him a very good break.’
      • ‘Well, frankly, present company excepted, Mike and Jenny are the only Christians I ever met who behaved at all like what I've heard of Christ.’
      • ‘Present company excepted, I think it's just an excuse for the vain and shallow to fill their otherwise empty leisure time.’
      • ‘I'm the best thing this Department ever had, present company excepted.’
  • these presents

    • formal This document.

      ‘the premises outlined in red on the Plan annexed to these presents’
      • ‘All moneys received by the Trustee under these presents and/or under the Security Documents shall be held by the Trustee upon trust to apply them.’
      • ‘The Trustee may determine all questions and doubts arising in relation to any of the provisions of these presents and the Security Documents.’
      • ‘Should there be any conflict between these presents and the Contract Documents these presents shall prevail.’


Middle English: via Old French from Latin praesent- being at hand present participle of praeesse, from prae before + esse be.

Main definitions of present in English

: present1present2present3



  • 1Give something to (someone) formally or ceremonially.

    ‘a top executive will present an award to employees who built the F-150’
    • ‘The Committee presented a cheque to St Aidan's National School on Sunday night last.’
    • ‘The trophy was presented by best-selling author Bill Bryson who described it as a very exciting match.’
    • ‘The Bowling Green last week Wednesday presented 27,900 baht towards the Lions club's hospital fund.’
    • ‘The Special Olympics Host Town Committee presented a special prize to Cathal Quinn for scoring a hole-in-one.’
    • ‘The prize will be presented at a ceremony in New York on September 24.’
    • ‘Outside the factory, his good works included presenting Rowntree Park to the city and starting work on New Earswick model village.’
    • ‘Mickey Dolenz of American band the Monkees presented one of the awards at the ceremony.’
    • ‘Terese Capucilli's award will be presented to her at the ceremony by actor and graphics designer Bill Randolph.’
    • ‘After the game Patsy Hobbert presented the James Hobbert Memorial Cup to a delighted Stacks' captain Eoin Colgan.’
    • ‘Ruth, 18, offered to present the painting to Mr Bayley as a memento of York, the floods and the exhibition.’
    • ‘The Whitecross Hospice Fundraising Committee is presenting a cheque to Newry Hospice.’
    • ‘Cllr Beattie gave a short speech praising the efforts of all the exhibitors and committee members before presenting the prizes.’
    • ‘The theatre beat off strong competition from all over the country to clinch the award, which was presented at a gala ceremony at London's Royal Court Theatre.’
    • ‘Awards will also be presented for top comeback, fair play, official and community sport volunteer.’
    • ‘Nominations close on Monday, April 30, and the awards will be presented at a ceremony June 20.’
    • ‘The prizes were presented recently at a ceremony in the Tower Hotel.’
    • ‘In 1944, Miss Matilda Talbot presented Lacock to the National Trust, and until recently the area known as the ‘museum garden’, was simply a grassed-over space scattered with trees and shrubs.’
    • ‘The first Golden Sheaf Award was presented in 1956, when it was decided that the festival should present a grand prize.’
    • ‘Regional award winners will go forward for selection for the national special awards due to be presented in spring 2004.’
    • ‘The inaugural Bob Hope Award was to be presented to Oprah Winfrey.’
    hand over, give, give out, dispense, hand out, confer, bestow, award, grant, donate, gift, accord, extend, entrust, furnish
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Give someone (something) ceremonially.
      ‘my students presented me with some flowers’
      • ‘He was recently presented with a special plaque in recognition of his involvement with the port since 1977.’
      • ‘Pat Noone presented Mary with a gift certificate on behalf of the group.’
      • ‘Another colleague and neighbour, Joe Boyle, presented Paddy with a holiday gift voucher and a fishing rod.’
      • ‘Guild Hall in East Hampton, N.Y., recently presented Ross Bleckner with a lifetime achievement award in the visual arts.’
      • ‘Coun Brian Baldwin, Wigan council's cabinet member for leisure and culture, presented Derrick with his award.’
      • ‘With the permission of his employers, Shipley Paint, Ian turned up at the school on Wednesday to present Larissa with some gift vouchers.’
      • ‘I remember every minute of being presented with that medal as if it was yesterday.’
      • ‘Suffolk Downs will present McCarron with a gift from the track and will salute his career with a video presentation of his riding highlights.’
      • ‘Dr. Richard Thorn, Director of IT Sligo, presented David Nixon with a contribution from the Institute and its staff towards his training centre in Zambia.’
      • ‘In 1993 the Queen presented Dr Marx with a lifetime service award and a college medal from the Royal College of Anaesthetists.’
      • ‘Henry presented Dorian with a gift - a book about a young man's passions, sins and vileness.’
      • ‘She was presented with a bouquet from Lewisham Council and a cake from her family.’
      • ‘His wife, Essie, was presented with a bouquet of flowers.’
      • ‘In 2004 he was presented with the Ivor Novello Award for outstanding contribution to British music.’
      • ‘Pincay, who retired two years ago after riding an unparalleled 9,530 winners, will present Threewitt with the award on July 9 at Hollywood Park.’
      • ‘Stephanie Donnelly was presented with £200 in gift vouchers by TV presenter Philippa Forrester.’
      • ‘Chief Superintendent Garry Shewan, head of Bury police, presented David with a Divisional Commander's Award.’
      • ‘She had lovingly cared for her, took her out on the days she had off, and presented her with as many gifts as her income would allow.’
      • ‘Sue was beaten by two regulars who were each presented with a special medal.’
      • ‘Headteacher Hazel Ferguson added: ‘This is the first time we have been presented with this award and we are all very pleased.’’
    2. 1.2Show or offer (something) for others to scrutinize or consider.
      ‘he stopped and presented his passport’
      • ‘None of the direct estimates presented below is wholly dependable or comparable with the others.’
      • ‘Their findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Dental Research.’
      • ‘Quite a strong argument was presented to the committee that we should remove ancillary activities altogether from the bill.’
      • ‘The editors have compiled a set of papers originally presented at seminars held at Harvard University in 1998 and 1999.’
      • ‘In the morning an anti-war petition with a million signatures was presented to parliament.’
      • ‘The mayor and chairmen of the four main committees will be presenting their reviews of the year and there will be a public question session.’
      • ‘The joint committee, which presents a preliminary report this autumn, comprises three Liberal Democrats, 12 Labour, seven Tories and two crossbenchers.’
      • ‘On the evidence here presented, the answer would appear to be a resounding ‘no’.’
      • ‘The material presented here is from a lecture presented to medical and pharmacy students.’
      • ‘The findings were presented yesterday at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in New Orleans.’
      • ‘A budget bill will be presented to Parliament for debate and approval next month.’
      • ‘A delegate meeting was convened from which the petition would be presented to parliament.’
      • ‘What follows is our summary of the key points presented at the symposium.’
      • ‘The budget committee is tasked with presenting a PAP budget for approval at the leaders' summit in July.’
      • ‘The seminars are presented by the aforementioned authors as well as various professional agencies.’
      • ‘The results were presented at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society.’
      • ‘Be sure to put all important communications in writing and consider ideas carefully before presenting them.’
      • ‘All you will have to do to take advantage of the offer is to present your card when you make your purchase.’
      • ‘I often consulted with the participants and owe much of the knowledge presented here to their direct input.’
      • ‘A petition was presented which requested action on two roads.’
      • ‘He's kick-started the process by studying many of the proposals on offer and presenting this draft plan of action.’
      submit, set forth, put forward, put up, proffer, offer, show, tender, advance, propose, propound, suggest, venture, bring up, broach, moot, air, ventilate, table, register, lay, lodge, introduce, move, volunteer
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3Formally introduce (someone) to someone else.
      ‘may I present my wife?’
      • ‘She arranged her skirts decorously and, mere seconds later, the butler entered the parlour and presented Mr Brown-Lee to the group.’
      • ‘A Mossi baby is formally presented to the community three days after birth for a boy, and four days after birth for a girl.’
      • ‘Now, Richards, sitting next to Roberts, presents Roberts to the committee.’
      • ‘An under-matron at Malsis school, she was presented by the wife of her cousin, Commander Ian Steel RN.’
      • ‘On September 14th as Marquise de Pompadour she was formally presented at court.’
      • ‘The midfielder gave a press conference at Vicente Calderon stadium after he was officially presented to the media and fans as an Atletico player.’
      • ‘He went inside, the boardroom doors flew open, and Tom presented me grandly to the room.’
      • ‘The new World Bank resident representative in Sofia was presented to ministers and the media.’
      • ‘She was presented to the Queen Mother during her 100th birthday year.’
      • ‘I was presented to the Duke and also the Duchess, who is a Dane.’
      introduce, make known, acquaint someone with, make acquainted with
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4Proffer (compliments or good wishes) in a formal manner.
      ‘may I present the greetings of my master?’
    5. 1.5Formally deliver (a check or bill) for acceptance or payment.
      ‘a check presented by Mr. Jackson was returned by the bank’
      • ‘Like other types of bills of exchange payable on demand, a cheque has to be presented for payment within a reasonable time.’
      • ‘When a cheque is presented for payment the paying bank, as we know, must comply strictly with its customer's mandate.’
      • ‘Mr. Jones then presents the $100 bill to Mr. Roberts in payment for his house.’
      • ‘The builder simply presented his bill for payment.’
      • ‘Your bank will honour the cheque when the holder presents it for payment.’
      • ‘We had paid the bill that had been presented to us and might easily have been unaware of the mistake.’
    6. 1.6Law Bring (a complaint, petition, or evidence) formally to the notice of a court.
      • ‘Judges are obliged to remain open-minded about the outcome of a case until the relevant evidence has been presented in court.’
      • ‘The public prosecutor normally begins to present his evidence in court after about three months.’
      • ‘The claim form in this action was issued on 19th April 2001 and the Petition was presented to the court on the same day.’
      • ‘No evidence was presented to the court that any party ever gave Mr. MacRae permission to park vehicles on the right-of-way.’
      • ‘While interim Motions are important to all parties, the affidavits to be presented to the Court must be succinct and to the point.’
      • ‘On 3 June 1992 it was wound up by the High Court on a petition presented by the Bank of England.’
    7. 1.7(of a company or producer) put (a show or exhibition) before the public.
      • ‘In November, the company presents Charles Gounod's Romeo and Juliet, starring tenor Marc Hervieux and soprano Kathleen Brett.’
      • ‘The Carl Rosa company presents Franz Lehar's light opera set in the heady Paris of the Moulin Rouge just a few years before the outbreak of the first world war.’
      • ‘Fishamble Theatre Company presents the work of one of Ireland's most acclaimed writers, Maeve Binchy, adapted and directed for the stage by Jim Culleton.’
      • ‘Sam Dowling's energetic and innovative Roscommon-based experimental theatre company presents its exciting new production.’
      • ‘Retina Dance Company presents contemporary pieces inspired by our prevailing fascination with gameshows and the shallow, short-term celebrity they provide.’
      • ‘The Royal Shakespeare Company presents this ‘magic, myth-making and mischief of modern India’ on May 13-17.’
      • ‘In another, a French shoe company presents an Arab-style slipper decorated with the stars and stripes alongside the word ‘Peace’.’
      • ‘In addition, earlier this year the company presented a newly developed fuel cell powered vehicle at the Geneva motor-show.’
      • ‘The company presented Opel Signum and Chevrolet Evanda models.’
      • ‘The Lismore Theatre Company presents the Rochdale Follies - a wonderful evening of humour and song performed by some of our top local talent.’
      • ‘If you're looking for a little more poetry in your fringe theatre, The Shakespeare Company presents its third annual Inspired Shakespeare Shorts the very next week.’
      • ‘NTC Touring Theatre Company presents a second show, The Stars Look Down, on Tuesday.’
      • ‘The event was well supported by Thai and international companies presenting their latest products set up at booths.’
      • ‘The Multi Storey Theatre Company is presenting the hour-long show, ideal for families with children over the age of five and an adult audience too.’
      • ‘She will liaise with local retailers and producers in a county-wide attempt to highlight the variety of products and the ways that Orkney firms are presenting these to the public.’
      • ‘This year, the Public Art Fund presents an exhibition of new work by five artists who explore diverse notions of leisure and leisure-time activities.’
      • ‘In celebration of the opening of West Bay Fine Art, the company presents the release of four canvas limited editions by the newly signed, pastel artist Julene Baker.’
      • ‘We see a touring theatre company presenting a Shakespeare play with an ex-husband and wife in the lead roles.’
      • ‘Hull Truck Theatre Company presents Black Tie and Tales, written and directed by John Godber.’
      • ‘The Misfit Theatre Company presents the award-winning play from Rona Munro, whose play Iron won critical acclaim at the Fringe.’
      demonstrate, show, put on display, put on show, put on view, exhibit, display, introduce, launch, unveil
      stage, put on, put before the public, produce, mount, organize
      View synonyms
  • 2Bring about or be the cause of (a problem or difficulty)

    ‘this should not present much difficulty’
    • ‘Such difficulty as the case presented turned upon the characterisation of the facts rather than upon any ambiguity in the statute.’
    • ‘The moors here present a particular challenge, the bridleways are waterlogged, rutted, rocky and really quite fantastic.’
    • ‘The white T-shirt I bought last week presents a much more difficult ethical issue.’
    • ‘For Reeves, a Bowl concert can be intimidating, but the difficulties it presents also inspire her as a singer.’
    • ‘This choice presents an immediate problem, since it's infinitely more difficult to lampoon a bad movie than it is a good one.’
    • ‘Children with recurrent abdominal pain present a difficult conundrum for doctors.’
    • ‘These groups present more direct challenges than other groups with established Whitehall connections.’
    • ‘The proposed Communications Bill presents the biggest threat to a free and objective press for more than 300 years.’
    • ‘Lack of parking presents a huge problem in relation to business on Bridge Street.’
    • ‘Falling objects, toppling furniture and panic present the greatest dangers during an earthquake.’
    • ‘The lack of affordable housing presents problems for the whole of the community - if there is no one to nurse the sick, teach the children or work on the land everyone suffers.’
    • ‘Don't be pushed into a software upgrade now only to find that data translation incompatibility presents major problems later.’
    • ‘And we have seen that sexism presents a greater difficulty than racism in this regard as well.’
    • ‘To me, this issue presents a more difficult question.’
    • ‘However, sustainable energy campaigners rubbish the notion that this presents insurmountable technical difficulties.’
    • ‘The steady demise of our ecosystems presents the greatest danger and is at the forefront of Ehrlich's strategic plan.’
    • ‘The Atherton Gardens estate has presented endemic problems for social planning since its development.’
    • ‘The activity documentation form often presents the greatest difficulty to applicants.’
    • ‘Now Angela's father has made a compromise offer, but it presents a tough choice for her.’
    • ‘Even the newer equipment presents difficult problems of ballot design.’
    1. 2.1Exhibit (a particular state or appearance) to others.
      ‘the EC presented a united front over the crisis’
      • ‘Thus cubist art, has something of the character of poetry, presenting an image of the world that is meditative, haunting, lyrical, mysterious and sometimes obscure.’
      • ‘The conference can also help to present a united and identifiable face of those opposing the country's occupation to the wider public.’
      • ‘He knows that although she presents such an organized front to the world, she is being torn apart inside.’
      • ‘A smaller, but revitalized version of United or US Airways presents a very interesting situation for the remaining major airlines.’
      • ‘This surely helps to ensure the safety of children and presents a more aesthetic appearance to the proposed development.’
      • ‘Everything is based on appearance and what you present to people, and you can control that.’
      • ‘Gainsborough chose to exhibit works that presented an alternative to Reynolds' argument.’
      • ‘However, while many students feel the rally was successful at presenting a unified front and generating public support, they are skeptical that it will actually lead to peace.’
      • ‘She says the geeky dullard front we present during office hours is a terribly amusing façade.’
      • ‘White wax finds use in cosmetics purely because it presents a better appearance.’
      • ‘The exterior of the car, which is 46 feet long by 10 feet wide, presents a splendid appearance.’
      • ‘Although Jamison presents a very frightening appearance, he has developed a sweet personality, eating right from my hand and licking my face.’
      • ‘None of this could be seen from the front, where the house presents a traditional Chinese appearance to passers-by.’
      • ‘The ECB has sent somewhat mixed signals at times about the desired level of the euro, and a variety of actors have criticized Duisenberg and others for not presenting a more coherent front.’
      • ‘But, more crucially, he was also able to present a united political front.’
      • ‘So they're going to be able to step out and present a completely united front.’
      • ‘Although the house presents a somewhat fortified appearance to the street, with a wall of opaque glass blocks rather than ground-floor windows, inside it is flooded with daylight.’
      • ‘It is not a representation of the past but presents the understanding and meaning that the biblical authors' contemporaries attributed to the past.’
      • ‘The silvery, zinc-plated steel facade is nearly windowless, initially presenting a rather uninviting appearance.’
      • ‘Too often the posts present an extreme view of reality that represent the author's bias.’
    2. 2.2Represent (someone) to others in a particular way, typically one that is false or exaggerated.
      ‘he presented himself as a hardworking man’
      • ‘That disagreement, however, must be presented in an intellectually responsible and respectful manner.’
      • ‘As it turned out, much of the peace and protest music of the 1960s was presented in a similar manner.’
      • ‘The media presented him as guilty even before the trial had begun.’
      • ‘The relationship between Michael and Siobhan is presented in a believable manner.’
      • ‘It allows him to present his laddish repartee as a courageous swipe against repression.’
      • ‘The play thus presents the Spanish as offering a more immediate example of how to achieve imperial status, rather than relying upon the myths of the past.’
      • ‘Each party's representative presents the situation as he or she understands it, emphasizing the important issues and the outcome desired.’
      • ‘The way I presented him in the film was accurate, and I don't think that Steve was a bad person.’
      • ‘Instead, he presents himself, and by extension, the party, as an idealogue and crusader for the values of a shameful past.’
      • ‘It is a representation that masks reality and presents it as a meaningless form of enslavement, one that portrays the loss of freedom as marginal.’
      • ‘Later, she is presented as a rather dowdy vestal virgin or as an elegant but staid matron demurely working on her embroidery.’
      • ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth's 12th-century History of the Kings of Britain presents Arthur as an early British leader who fought the Saxons and Romans.’
      • ‘This most confident debut presents Hope of the States as a band for the future - a place it'll most likely find very comfortable.’
      • ‘Within a sexist ideology and a male-dominated cinema, woman is presented as what she represents for man…’
      • ‘He presents himself as a dashing, globetrotting playboy.’
      • ‘Education is stripped of its formal content, and presented as a means to an end - the end being, not a love of books or even basic literacy, but social inclusion.’
      • ‘In this effort, he presents himself as a competent problem solver.’
      • ‘And in this conditions of course, maybe he thinks that if he presents himself as the American ally, many Americans would look at him differently.’
      • ‘Gladwell presents himself as much more than a storyteller.’
      • ‘NHS Direct is presented in a positive light, but not all is rosy.’
      represent, describe, portray, depict, characterize
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3[no object]Exhibit the outward or physical appearance of a specified gender.
      ‘at that time she was presenting as male and was hired with a traditionally male first name’
    4. 2.4Come forward into the presence of another or others, especially for a formal occasion; appear.
      ‘he failed to present himself in court’
      • ‘Quiet and well-mannered in the way he presents himself in public, he is at the age of only 25 one of snooker's elite band of millionaires.’
      • ‘AN NHS trust has launched an internal inquiry after it emerged that a murder suspect was turned away when he presented himself at a mental health unit.’
      • ‘David presented himself at the emergency room of the hospital one and one-half days after the third cystoscopy.’
      • ‘Within days of arriving in Ireland, she presented herself at the Accident and Emergency department of a Dublin hospital showing symptoms of the deadly virus.’
      • ‘Because he can't learn his new profession from books (Mr. Norrell has bought them all), Strange presents himself to his rival for tutoring.’
      • ‘Mrs Statham said: ‘When somebody presents themselves as homeless we decide which category to place them into and the appropriate support services that they require.’’
      • ‘Next thing we know, Dewey presents himself in Ned's place at an exclusive and rather snobbish private school before a class of 10-year-olds.’
      • ‘Then one day a man appears at his door, presenting himself as John Shooter, and accuses Mort of copying a story from him.’
      • ‘Take care over your appearance and present yourself smelling, looking and feeling as attractive as you can.’
      • ‘But it was a composed and prepared Smith who appeared on Newsmaker Live to present herself for public scrutiny.’
      • ‘I view my appearance in Playboy as the first step in presenting myself to the world as I am.’
      be present, make an appearance, appear, attend, turn up, arrive
      View synonyms
    5. 2.5(of an opportunity or idea) occur and be available for use or exploitation.
      ‘when a favorable opportunity presented itself, he would submit his proposition’
      • ‘They are not like the other girls at Moore River, and, when an opportunity presents itself, they escape.’
      • ‘She does not plan large works in advance, but instead visits the designated exhibition space and waits for an idea to present itself to her.’
      • ‘I started playing golf since about age 14, and can remember playing in rain or shine whenever the chance presented itself.’
      occur, arise, happen, transpire, emerge, come about, appear, materialize, come up, crop up, pop up, turn up
      View synonyms
    6. 2.6Medicine [no object](of a patient) come forward for or undergo initial medical examination for a particular condition or symptom.
      ‘the patient presented with mild clinical encephalopathy’
      • ‘Mr. Smith is a 63-year-old man who presents to his family physician with typical anginal chest pain.’
      • ‘On average, one full school day was missed unnecessarily after children presented to hospital emergency departments with minor injuries.’
      • ‘At 12 months of age, the patient presented to the hospital with vomiting.’
      • ‘A 76-year-old man presented to the emergency room with abdominal pain and fatigue.’
      • ‘She presented to another hospital with cyanosis and in respiratory distress.’
      • ‘A 55 year old man presented to his general practitioner with a productive cough.’
    7. 2.7Medicine [no object](of a part of a fetus) be directed toward the cervix during labor.
      • ‘Gardberg et al found that 68% of fetuses presenting as occiput posterior position at birth resulted from a malrotation from an initial occiput anterior position.’
    8. 2.8Medicine [no object](of an illness) manifest itself.
      • ‘Geller reported a case of acute leukemia presenting as respiratory distress in a patient with leukemic pulmonary infiltration diagnosed at autopsy.’
      • ‘Firstly, hepatitis C is not an uncommon disease presenting to general practitioners.’
      • ‘The lesion presents as a painless, pruritic papule on exposed skin areas.’
      • ‘Influenza may present as a mild respiratory illness similar to the common cold.’
      • ‘However, none of the 5 tumors presenting during pregnancy and lactation that were tested were positive for either protein.’
  • 3Hold out or aim (a firearm) at something so as to be ready to fire.

    ‘they were to present their rifles, take aim, and fire’


  • present arms

    • (usually as a command) hold a rifle vertically in front of the body as a salute.

      • ‘Officers saluted the coffin and a picture of Kabila, as a military band played the national anthem, and an honour guard presented arms.’
      • ‘For each of the drill movements, you have to be really conscious of what you're timing is, so every time you go from standing at ease to present arms, there's a set order to get there.’
      • ‘The World War I story of ‘preachers presenting arms’ has been told before, but Gamble tells it well.’
      • ‘When the casket is removed from the hearse, the squad presents arms and then performs the military ritual.’
      • ‘The Victoria and Albert cast off from Port Victoria Pier at 20 minutes after 3 and steamed down to Sheerness Harbour, the crews of the vessels in the river manning ship and the guards presenting arms as her Majesty passed.’


Middle English: from Old French presenter, from Latin praesentare place before (in medieval Latin present as a gift), from praesent- being at hand (see present).

Main definitions of present in English

: present1present2present3



  • A thing given to someone as a gift.

    [as modifier] ‘a Christmas present’
    • ‘Decorative serving platters also make great presents for the culinarily gifted.’
    • ‘In addition to this, think of all the presents, the toys, gift sets and, most importantly, all that wrapping paper.’
    • ‘Anyway, full marks to them for having their wedding at home rather than running off abroad and also for the presents for charity idea.’
    • ‘It first started with one gift, then the rest of the presents on Christmas morning.’
    • ‘Neil said that the idea of asking for donations instead of presents came after the death of his best friend, Steve.’
    • ‘We leisurely opened presents and stockings and had brunch around 3 pm.’
    • ‘Unruly children have traditionally been threatened with coal instead of presents in their Christmas stockings.’
    • ‘Camelot believes the scratchcard, launched tomorrow, will appeal to people who buy record or gift tokens as presents.’
    • ‘Over £900 was raised for the Southern Area Hospice Services from donations placed instead of presents for Jimmy.’
    • ‘But I'd have loved presents and a stocking as well.’
    • ‘We make the same mistakes when it comes to wedding gifts, birthday presents, anniversaries, house-warming gifts etc.’
    • ‘They also have a gift shop with lots of presents suitable for Mum on Mother's Day.’
    • ‘And the rise of clinics selling gift vouchers means that friends and family can contribute to presents of an operation for their loved ones.’
    • ‘I've read other blogs and things bemoaning the fact that Christmas in Japan is not about religion, only about presents.’
    • ‘Teresa wraps presents in tea-towels - saves paper and is a handy gift in itself!’
    • ‘Instead of giving my grandmother a normal gift (she's very hard to buy presents for), we decided to take her away for a weekend.’
    • ‘They give you gifts and presents and refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer.’
    • ‘Practical presents are now a favourite of mine: getting gifts that you like but wouldn't necessarily buy yourself.’
    • ‘‘That's weird,’ I said looking around me at the piles of presents, cards and gift certificates.’
    • ‘This latest appeal involved the donation of presents for the children and, as shown in the photographs, they were thrilled.’
    gift, donation, offering, contribution, handout, presentation, bestowal
    largesse, alms, charity, bonus, award, premium, bounty, boon, favour
    bequest, legacy, settlement
    subsidy, grant, endowment, benefaction
    tip, gratuity
    prezzie, freebie, perk, sweetener
    View synonyms


  • make a present of

    • Give as a gift.

      ‘he had made a present of a hacienda to the president’
      • ‘In about half the forest areas, as in the Forest of Dean, they also owned the woodland within the royal forests, and to be able to make a present of the rare timbers large enough to build ships and houses gave them further influence.’
      • ‘To make a gift of something to someone is to make a present of some part of oneself.’
      • ‘With five outlets to choose from it won't be too difficult to find something to suit all tastes not to mention making a present of something which will be helping the Developing World and its farmers and producers.’
      • ‘If you are thinking of buying this perfect literary gift, I suggest you make a present of it to yourself.’
      • ‘He told her that he doubted whether any real lady would make a present of pajamas to a gentleman.’


Middle English: from Old French, originally in the phrase mettre une chose en present à quelqu'un put a thing into the presence of a person.