Did you know?

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

existence - definition and synonyms

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.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun     existence pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
  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.



to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

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
Macmillan learn live love play