Share this entry

Share this page

existence

Line breaks: ex¦ist|ence
Pronunciation: /ɪɡˈzɪst(ə)ns
 
, ɛɡ-/

Definition of existence in English:

noun

[mass noun]
1The fact or state of living or having objective reality: the organization has been in existence for fifteen years
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • He was called away from temporal existence on November 12.
  • In fact, this arrangement may be the only one in existence anywhere in the United States.
Synonyms
1.1Continued survival: she kept the company alive when its very existence was threatened
More example sentences
  • The Jewish working class, not entirely without reason, identified its own survival with the continued existence of this 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.
  • 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.
Synonyms
actuality, being, existing, reality, fact;
survival, continuance, continuation, subsistence, living;
Philosophy quiddity, esse
1.2 [count noun] A way of living: our stressed-out urban existence
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • The reward for the risk taken pays rent, feeds children, and supports a subsistence level existence.
  • 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.
Synonyms
way of life, way of living, manner of living, life, lifestyle, circumstances, situation
1.3 [count noun] (In certain beliefs) any of a person’s successive earthly lives: a person may be reaping the consequences of evil deeds sown in previous existences
More example sentences
  • The purpose of such rites is to separate people from a previous existence.
  • 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.
  • In previous existences, this electronic engineer brought cable TV to Sligo and helped get Sligo airport off the ground.
1.4All that exists: he believed in the essential unity of all existence
More example sentences
  • I don't know, and don't care, because in either case it does not affect my reality and my place in existence.
  • Eventually the stars would burn out and a curtain of frozen darkness would enshroud all existence.
1.5 [count noun] archaic Something that exists; a being.
Example sentences
  • There is no limit to the ever-increasing number of deified existences.

Origin

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

Definition of existence in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day peart
Pronunciation: pɪət
adjective
lively; cheerful