[eg-zi-sten-shuh l, ek-si-]


pertaining to existence.
of, relating to, or characteristic of existentialism: an existential hero.

Origin of existential

First recorded in 1685–95, existential is from the Late Latin word existentiālis relating to existing. See existence, -al1
Related formsex·is·ten·tial·ly, adverbnon·ex·is·ten·tial, adjectivenon·ex·is·ten·tial·ly, adverbun·ex·is·ten·tial, adjectiveun·ex·is·ten·tial·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for existential



of or relating to existence, esp human existence
philosophy pertaining to what exists, and is thus known by experience rather than reason; empirical as opposed to theoretical
logic denoting or relating to a formula or proposition asserting the existence of at least one object fulfilling a given condition; containing an existential quantifier
of or relating to existentialism

noun logic

  1. an existential statement or formula
  2. short for existential quantifier
Derived Formsexistentially, adverb
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

Word Origin and History for existential

1690s, "pertaining to existence," from Late Latin existentialis/exsistentialis, from existentia/exsistentia (see existence). As a term in logic, from 1819; in philosophy, from 1937, tracing back to the Danish works of Kierkegaard (see existentialism). Related: Existentially.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper