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.
  3. Grammar.
    1. noting an action or state occurring at the moment of speaking or writing: Knows is a present form in He knows that.
    2. noting or pertaining to a tense or other verb formation with such meaning.
  4. being with one or others or in the specified or understood place: to be present at the wedding.
  5. being here: Is everyone present?
  6. existing or occurring in a place, thing, combination, or the like: Carbon is present in many minerals.
  7. being actually here or under consideration: the present document; the present topic.
  8. being before the mind.
  9. Obsolete. mentally alert and calm, especially in emergencies.
  10. Obsolete. immediate or instant.
  1. the present time.
  2. Grammar.
    1. the present tense.
    2. a verb formation or construction with present meaning.
    3. a form in the present.
  3. 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 . . . .
  4. Obsolete. the matter in hand.
  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

1250–1300; (adj.) Middle English < Old French < Latin praesent- (stem of praesēns) present participle of praeësse to be present, before others, i.e., to preside, be in charge; (noun) Middle English: presence, spatial or temporal present; partly derivative of the adj., partly < Old French. See pre-, is, -ent
Related formspres·ent·ness, noun

Synonyms for present

1. extant.

Synonym study

1. See current.

Antonyms for present

1. absent. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for presentness


  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, etcthe murderer is present in this room
  3. (prenominal) now in consideration or under discussionthe present topic; the present author
  4. 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
  5. archaic readily available; instantpresent help is at hand
  6. archaic mentally alert; attentive
  1. the present the time being; now
  2. grammar
    1. the present tense
    2. a verb in this tense
  3. at present at the moment; now
  4. for the present for the time being; temporarily
See also presents

Word Origin for present

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


verb (prɪˈzɛnt) (mainly tr)
  1. to introduce (a person) to another, esp to someone of higher rank
  2. to introduce to the publicto present a play
  3. to introduce and compere (a radio or television show)
  4. to show; exhibithe presented a brave face to the world
  5. to put forward; submitshe presented a proposal for a new book
  6. to bring or suggest to the mindto present a problem
  7. to give or awardto present a prize
  8. to endow with or as if with a gift or awardto present a university with a foundation scholarship
  9. to offer formallyto present one's compliments
  10. to offer or hand over for action or settlementto present a bill
  11. to represent or depict in a particular mannerthe actor presented Hamlet as a very young man
  12. to salute someone with (one's weapon) (usually in the phrase present arms)
  13. to aim or point (a weapon)
  14. to nominate (a clergyman) to a bishop for institution to a benefice in his diocese
  15. to lay (a charge, etc) before a court, magistrate, etc, for consideration or trial
  16. to bring a formal charge or accusation against (a person); indict
  17. 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
  18. (intr) med to seek treatment for a particular symptom or problemshe presented with postnatal depression
  19. (intr) informal to produce a favourable, etc impressionshe presents well in public; he presents as harmless but has poisoned his family
  20. present oneself to appear, esp at a specific time and place
noun (ˈprɛzənt)
  1. anything that is presented; a gift
  2. make someone a present of something to give someone somethingI'll make you a present of a new car

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for presentness



c.1300, "existing at the time," from Old French present "evident, at hand, within reach;" as a noun, "the present time" (11c., Modern French présent) and directly from Latin praesentem (nominative praesens) "present, at hand, in sight; immediate; prompt, instant; contemporary," from present participle of præesse "be before (someone or something), be at hand," from prae- "before" (see pre-) + esse "to be" (see essence). Meaning "being there" is from mid-14c. in English. As a grammatical tense, recorded from late 14c.



c.1300, "introduce (someone or something) formally or ceremonially;" also "make a formal presentation of; give as a gift or award; bestow," from Old French presenter (11c., Modern French présenter) and directly from Latin praesentare "to place before, show, exhibit," from stem of praesens (see present (adj.)). From late 14c. as "exhibit (something), offer for inspection, display;" also, in law, "make a formal complaint or charge of wrongdoing." From c.1400 as"represent, portray." Related: Presented; presenting.



"this point in time" (opposed to past and future), c.1300, "the present time," also "act or fact of being present; portion of space around someone," from Old French present (n.) from Latin praesens "being there" (see present (adj.)). In old legalese, these presents means "these documents."



c.1200, "thing offered, what is offered or given as a gift," from Old French present and Medieval Latin presentia, from phrases such as French en present "(to offer) in the presence of," mettre en present "place before, give," from Late Latin inpraesent "face to face," from Latin in re praesenti "in the situation in question," from praesens "being there" (see present (adj.)), on the notion of "bringing something into someone's presence."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

presentness in Medicine


  1. To appear or be felt first during birth. Used of the part of the fetus that proceeds first through the birth canal.
  2. To place oneself in the presence of a doctor or other medical provider as a patient with a complaint or condition.
  3. To manifest a symptom.
  4. To attach or be capable of attaching to a cell surface, especially for detection by other molecules.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with presentness


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.