[ prez-uhnt ]
See synonyms for: presentpresentedpresentingpresents on

  1. being, existing, or occurring at this time or now; current: increasing respect for the present ruler of the small country.

  2. at this time; at hand; immediate: articles for present use.

  1. Grammar. designating a verb tense, construction, or form used to refer to an action or state occurring at the time of speaking or writing: knows is a present form in He knows that.

  2. being with one or others or in the specified or understood place: to be present at the wedding.

  3. being here: Is everyone present?

  4. existing or occurring in a place, thing, combination, or the like: Carbon is present in many minerals.

  5. being actually here or under consideration: the present document;the present topic.

  6. being in the mind; recollected: The memories were still present to her mind.

  7. focused on or involved in what one is doing at a particular moment; attentive: When you’re talking to someone, be present instead of thinking about something else.

  8. Obsolete. mentally alert and calm, especially in emergencies.

  9. Obsolete. immediate or instant: present payment.

  1. the present time: She has one foot in the present and one foot in the future.

  2. Grammar. present tense.

  1. presents, Law. the present writings, or this document, used in a deed of conveyance, a lease, etc., to denote the document itself: Know all men by these presents that . . . .

  2. Obsolete. the matter in hand.

Idioms about present

  1. at present, at the present time or moment; now: There are no job openings here at present.

  2. for the present, for now; temporarily: For the present, we must be content with matters as they stand.

Origin of present

First recorded in 1250–1300; (for the adjective) from Middle English present(e), presa(u)nt, from Old French present, from Latin praesent-, stem of praesēns “being present,” present participle of praeesse “to be present, be before others, preside, be in charge”; (for the noun) from Middle English present(e), presant “presence (in space or time),” partly derivative of the adjective, partly from Old French; see pre-, essence

Other words for present

Opposites for present

Other words from present

  • pres·ent·ness, noun

Words Nearby present

Other definitions for present (2 of 2)

[ verb pri-zent; noun prez-uhnt ]

verb (used with object)
  1. to furnish or endow with a gift or the like, especially by formal act: to present someone with a gold watch.

  2. to bring, offer, or give, often in a formal or ceremonious way: You'll have to present your passport at the airport.

  1. afford or furnish (an opportunity, possibility, etc.).

  2. to hand over or submit, as a bill or a check, for payment: The waiter presented our bill for lunch.

  3. to introduce (a person) to another, especially in a formal manner: Mrs. Smith, may I present Mr. Jones?

  4. to bring before or introduce to the public: to present a new play.

  5. to come to show (oneself) before a person, at a place, etc.

  6. to show or exhibit: This theater will present films on a larger screen.

  7. to bring forth or render for or before another or others; offer for consideration: to present an alternative plan.

  8. to set forth in words; frame or articulate: to present arguments.

  9. to represent, impersonate, or act, as on the stage.

  10. to direct, point, or turn (something) to something or someone: He presented his back to the audience.

  11. to level or aim (a weapon, especially a firearm).

  12. Law.

    • to bring against, as a formal charge against a person.

    • to bring formally to the notice of the proper authority, as an offense.

  13. British Ecclesiastical. to offer or recommend (a member of the clergy) to the bishop to be granted a benefice.

verb (used without object)
  1. Medicine/Medical.

    • (of a fetus) to be visible at the cervix during labor: In a normal delivery, the baby’s head presents first.

    • (of a medical condition) to be evident from the presence of certain symptoms: Depression often presents with disturbed sleep or appetite.

    • (of a patient) to have a certain symptom or medical condition, especially as reported during a medical examination: A 22-year-old man presents with shortness of breath.

nounpres·ent [prez-uhnt] /ˈprɛz ənt/
  1. a thing presented as a gift; gift: Christmas presents.

Origin of present

First recorded 1200–50; Middle English noun present(e), presant, from Old French present, originally in phrase en present “in presence”; Middle English verb presenten, present(e), from Old French presenter, from Medieval Latin praesentāre “to give, show, present for approval,” Latin: “to exhibit (to the mind or senses),” derivative of praesēns; see origin at present1

synonym study For present

1. See give. 17. Present, gift, donation, bonus refer to something freely given. Present and gift are both used of something given as an expression of affection, friendship, interest, or respect. Present is the less formal; gift is generally used of something conferred (especially with ceremony) on an individual, a group, or an institution: a birthday present; a gift to a bride. Donation applies to an important gift, most often of money and usually of considerable size, though the term is often used in speaking of small gifts to or for people who need help: a donation to an endowment fund, to the Red Cross. Bonus applies to something, again usually money, given in addition to what is due, especially to employees who have worked for a long time or particularly well: a bonus at the end of the year.

Other words for present

Other words from present

  • self-pre·sent·ed, adjective
  • un·pre·sent·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use present in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for present (1 of 2)


/ (ˈprɛzənt) /

  1. (prenominal) in existence at the moment in time at which an utterance is spoken or written

  2. (postpositive) being in a specified place, thing, etc: the murderer is present in this room

  1. (prenominal) now in consideration or under discussion: the present topic; the present author

  2. grammar denoting a tense of verbs used when the action or event described is occurring at the time of utterance or when the speaker does not wish to make any explicit temporal reference

  3. archaic readily available; instant: present help is at hand

  4. archaic mentally alert; attentive

  1. the present the time being; now

  2. grammar

    • the present tense

    • a verb in this tense

  1. at present at the moment; now

  2. for the present for the time being; temporarily

Origin of present

C13: from Latin praesens, from praeesse to be in front of, from prae- before, in front + esse to be

British Dictionary definitions for present (2 of 2)


verb(prɪˈzɛnt) (mainly tr)
  1. to introduce (a person) to another, esp to someone of higher rank

  2. to introduce to the public: to present a play

  1. to introduce and compere (a radio or television show)

  2. to show; exhibit: he presented a brave face to the world

  3. to put forward; submit: she presented a proposal for a new book

  4. to bring or suggest to the mind: to present a problem

  5. to give or award: to present a prize

  6. to endow with or as if with a gift or award: to present a university with a foundation scholarship

  7. to offer formally: to present one's compliments

  8. to offer or hand over for action or settlement: to present a bill

  9. to represent or depict in a particular manner: the actor presented Hamlet as a very young man

  10. to salute someone with (one's weapon) (usually in the phrase present arms)

  11. to aim or point (a weapon)

  12. to nominate (a clergyman) to a bishop for institution to a benefice in his diocese

  13. to lay (a charge, etc) before a court, magistrate, etc, for consideration or trial

  14. to bring a formal charge or accusation against (a person); indict

  15. mainly US (of a grand jury) to take notice of (an offence) from personal knowledge or observation, before any bill of indictment has been drawn up

  16. (intr) med to seek treatment for a particular symptom or problem: she presented with postnatal depression

  17. (intr) informal to produce a favourable, etc impression: she presents well in public; he presents as harmless but has poisoned his family

  18. present oneself to appear, esp at a specific time and place

  1. anything that is presented; a gift

  2. make someone a present of something to give someone something: I'll make you a present of a new car

Origin of present

C13: from Old French presenter, from Latin praesentāre to exhibit, offer, from praesens present 1

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with present


see all present and accounted for; at present; for the moment (present); no time like the present.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.