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[ig-zist] /ɪgˈzɪst/
verb (used without object)
to have actual being; be:
The world exists, whether you like it or not.
to have life or animation; live.
to continue to be or live:
Belief in magic still exists.
to have being in a specified place or under certain conditions; be found; occur:
Hunger exists in many parts of the world.
to achieve the basic needs of existence, as food and shelter:
He's not living, he's merely existing.
Origin of exist
1595-1605; < Latin ex(s)istere to exist, appear, emerge, equivalent to ex- ex-1 + sistere to stand
Related forms
exister, noun
nonexisting, adjective
unexisting, adjective
3. survive, persist, last, endure, stay, remain. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for exist
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But even it does not exist, there is nothing but quiet and peace.

    War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
  • A combination can exist where each of its members would perish.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • But, as it most fortunately does exist, this is not needful.

    The English Novel George Saintsbury
  • On the banks of most of them have been built the few cities which exist near the sea in Peru.

    The Western World W.H.G. Kingston
  • Nothing now remains of old Lathom House and no picture of it is known to exist.

British Dictionary definitions for exist


verb (intransitive)
to have being or reality; to be
to eke out a living; stay alive; survive: I can barely exist on this wage
to be living; live
to be present under specified conditions or in a specified place: sharks exist in the Pacific
  1. to be actual rather than merely possible
  2. to be a member of the domain of some theory, an element of some possible world, etc
  3. to have contingent being while free, responsible, and aware of one's situation
Derived Forms
existing, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Latin exsistere to step forth, from ex-1 + sistere to stand
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for exist

c.1600, from French exister (17c.), from Latin existere/exsistere "to step out, stand forth, emerge, appear; exist, be" (see existence). "The late appearance of the word is remarkable" [OED]. Related: Existed; existing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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