Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word


 - definition

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun existence pronunciation in British English /ɪɡˈzɪst(ə)ns/ 
Word Forms

Related dictionary definitions

  1. 1
    [uncountable] the state of being a real or living thing, or of being present in a particular place, time, or situation

    The tests confirm the existence of a brain tumour.

    in existence:

    the only copy of the book that is still in existence

    come into existence/go out of existence:

    The company came into existence at the end of the 1980s.

  2. 2
    [countable] [usually singular] the way that someone lives their life, especially when their life is difficult

    Jones led a miserable existence in an isolated village for several years.

    a hand-to-mouth existence (=having hardly enough food or money to live on):

    He lived a hand-to-mouth existence in a poor area of London.

    eke out an existence (=manage to live under difficult conditions):

    Families struggle to eke out an existence in this harsh environment.


a paid holiday given to a new employee before they start their job

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

selfie stick

an expandable stick which you attach to a mobile phone or camera to help you take a selfie …

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog