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presence definition


This page has 10 definitions of presence in English. Presence is a noun and verb. Examples of how to use presence in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: présence


Alternative forms


Through Old French presence, from Latin praesentia (a being present), from praesentem. Displaced native Old English andweardnes.


  • IPA(key): /ˈpɹɛzəns/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: pres‧ence


presence (countable and uncountable, plural presences)

  1. The fact or condition of being present, or of being within sight or call, or at hand.
    Any painter can benefit from the presence of a live model from which to draw.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter II, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314:
      Carried somehow, somewhither, for some reason, on these surging floods, were these travelers, of errand not wholly obvious to their fellows, yet of such sort as to call into query alike the nature of their errand and their own relations. It is easily earned repetition to state that Josephine St. Auban's was a presence not to be concealed.
  2. The part of space within one's immediate vicinity.
    Bob never said anything about it in my presence.
  3. A quality of poise and effectiveness that enables a performer to achieve a close relationship with their audience.
  4. A quality that sets an individual out from others; a quality that makes them noticed and/or admired even if they are not speaking or performing.
    Despite being less than five foot, she filled up the theatre with her stage presence.
  5. Something (as a spirit) felt or believed to be present.
    I'm convinced that there was a presence in that building that I can't explain, which led to my heroic actions.
  6. A company's business activity in a particular market. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  7. (archaic) An assembly of great persons.
  8. The state of being closely focused on the here and now, not distracted by irrelevant thoughts. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  9. (audio) Synonym of room tone


Derived terms



presence (third-person singular simple present presences, present participle presencing, simple past and past participle presenced)

  1. (philosophy, transitive, intransitive) To make or become present.
    • 1972, Joan Stambaugh, Time and being (lecture), translation of original by Martin Heidegger, page 13:
      Presence means: the constant abiding that approaches man, reaches him, is extended to him. But what is this source of this extending reach to which the present belongs as presencing, insofar as there is presence? True, man always remains approached by the presencing of something actually present without explicitly heeding presencing itself.
    • 1985, David Edward Shaner, The Bodymind Experience in Japanese Buddhism: A Phenomenological Study of Kūkai and Dōgen, page 59,
      Within a completely neutral horizon, the primordial continuous stream of experience is presenced without interruption. As this time, the past and future have no meaning apart from the now in which they are presenced.
    • 1998, H. Peter Steeves, Founding Community: A Phenomenological-Ethical Inquiry, page 59,
      Just as the bread and butter can be presenced as more than just the bread and the butter, so baking a loaf of bread can be more than just the baking, the baker, and the bread.
    • 2005, James Phillips, Heidegger's Volk: Between National Socialism and Poetry, Stanford University Press, →ISBN (paperback), page 118,
      From the overtaxing of the regime's paranoiac classifications and monitoring of the social field, Heidegger was to await in vain the presencing of that which is present, the revelation of the Being of beings in its precedence to governmental control.
    • 2011, Brendan McCormack, Tanya McCance, Person-centred Nursing: Theory and Practice:
      Benner (1984) captures the essence of this when she describes presencing as the art of 'being with' a person without the need to be 'doing to' the person.

Related terms

Further reading