• Present


    • enPR: prĕ'zənt, IPA: /ˈprɛzənt/
    • Hyphenation: pres + ent

    Origin 1

    Alternative forms

    From Middle English, from Old French, from Latin praesent-, praesens present participle of praeesse ("to be present"), from Latin prae- ("pre-") + esse ("to be").

    Full definition of present



    1. Relating to now, for the time being; current.The barbaric practice continues to the present day.
      • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, The Mirror and the Lamp Chapter 12, All this was extraordinarily distasteful to Churchill. It was ugly, gross. Never before had he felt such repulsion when the vicar displayed his characteristic bluntness or coarseness of speech. In the present connexion  such talk had been distressingly out of place.
    2. The present manager has been here longer than the last one.
    3. Located in the immediate vicinity.
      Is there a doctor present?;   Several people were present when the event took place.
    4. (obsolete) Having an immediate effect (of a medicine, poison etc.); fast-acting. 16th-18th c.
      • 1621, Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, II.5.1.v:Amongst this number of cordials and alteratives I do not find a more present remedy than a cup of wine or strong drink, if it be soberly and opportunely used.
    5. (obsolete) Not delayed; immediate; instant.
      • Shakespearea present pardon
      • MassingerAn ambassador ... desires a present audience.
    6. (dated) Ready; quick in emergency.a present wit
    7. (obsolete) Favorably attentive; propitious.
      • Drydento find a god so present to my prayer


    Related terms



    (plural presents)
    1. The current moment or period of time.
    2. The present tense.

    Pronunciation ,

    • enPR: prĭzĕnt', IPA: /prɪˈzɛnt/
    • Canada IPA: /prəˈzɛnt/

    Origin 2

    From Middle English presenten, from Old French presenter, from Latin presentare "to show", from Latin praesent-, praesens present participle of praeesse "to be in front of".



    (plural presents)
    1. A gift, especially one given for birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, or any other special occasions.
      • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, The Mirror and the Lamp Chapter 7, “A very welcome, kind, useful present, that means to the parish. By the way, Hopkins, let this go no further. We don't want the tale running round that a rich person has arrived. Churchill, my dear fellow, we have such greedy sharks, and wolves in lamb's clothing. 
    2. (military) The position of a soldier in presenting arms.
      to stand at present


    1. To bring into the presence of
      1. To bring (someone) into the presence of (a person); to introduce formally. from 14th c.to present an envoy to the king
      2. (transitive) To nominate (a member of the clergy) for an ecclesiastical benefice; to offer to the bishop or ordinary as a candidate for institution. from 14th c.
      3. (transitive) To offer (a problem, complaint) to a court or other authority for consideration. from 14th c.
      4. (transitive, now rare) To charge (a person) with a crime or accusation; to bring before court. from 14th c.
        • 1971, Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, Folio Society 2012, p. 71:In the diocese of Gloucester in 1548 two inhabitants of Slimbridge were presented for saying that holy oil was ‘of no virtue but meet to grease sheep’.
      5. (reflexive) To come forward, appear in a particular place or before a particular person, especially formally. from 14th c.
        • Bible, Job i. 6Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the lord.
      6. (transitive) To put (something) forward in order for it to be seen; to show, exhibit. from 14th c.
        • Alexander PopeSo ladies in romance assist their knight,
          Present the spear, and arm him for the fight.
      7. (transitive) To make clear to one's mind or intelligence; to put forward for consideration. from 14th c.
        • 1927, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-book of Sherlock Holmes:I do begin to realize that the matter must be presented in such a way as may interest the reader.
        • 2012-01, Steven Sloman, The Battle Between Intuition and Deliberation, Libertarian paternalism is the view that, because the way options are presented to citizens affects what they choose, society should present options in a way that “nudges” our intuitive selves to make choices that are more consistent with what our more deliberative selves would have chosen if they were in control.
      8. (transitive) To put on, stage (a play etc.). from 16th c.The theater is proud to present the Fearless Fliers.
      9. (transitive, military) To point (a firearm) at something, to hold (a weapon) in a position ready to fire. from 16th c.
      10. (reflexive) To offer oneself for mental consideration; to occur to the mind. from 16th c.Well, one idea does present itself.
      11. (intransitive, medicine) To appear (in a specific way) for delivery (of a fetus); to appear first at the mouth of the uterus during childbirth. from 18th c.
      12. (intransitive, medicine) To come to the attention of medical staff, especially with a specific symptom. from 19th c.The patient presented with insomnia.
      13. (transitive) To act as presenter on (a radio, television programme etc.). from 20th c.Anne Robinson presents "The Weakest Link".
      14. To make a present of
        1. (transitive) To give a gift or presentation to (someone). from 14th c.She was presented with an honorary degree for her services to entertainment.
        2. (transitive) To give (a gift or presentation) to someone; to bestow. from 14th c.
          • CowperMy last, least offering, I present thee now.
        3. (transitive) To deliver (something abstract) as though as a gift; to offer. from 14th c.I presented my compliments to Lady Featherstoneshaw.
        4. (transitive) To hand over (a bill etc.) to be paid. from 15th c.

    Derived terms

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