Meaning of EXISTENCE in English


ex ‧ ist ‧ ence S3 W2 /ɪɡˈzɪst ə ns/ BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ existence ≠ ↑ non-existence , ↑ existent , ↑ existentialism , ↑ existentialist , ↑ coexistence ; adjective : ↑ existent ≠ ↑ nonexistent , ↑ existing , ↑ pre-existing , ↑ existential , ↑ existentialist ; verb : ↑ exist , ↑ coexist ]

1 . [uncountable] the state of existing

existence of

It is impossible to prove the existence of God.

in existence

The organization has been in existence for 25 years.

Scientists have many theories about how the universe first came into existence (=started to exist) .

existence of

The very existence of the museum is threatened by lack of funding.

the continued existence of economic inequalities

2 . [countable usually singular] the type of life that someone has, especially when it is bad or unhappy:

Pablo led a miserable existence when he first moved to San Juan.

⇨ eke out a living/existence at ↑ eke

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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ verbs

▪ come into existence (=start to exist)

Pakistan came into existence as an independent country in 1947.

▪ spring into existence (=suddenly start to exist)

After the invasion, a French resistance movement sprang into existence.

▪ bring something into existence formal (=make something start to exist)

The state must follow the terms of the treaty that brought it into existence.

▪ go out of existence (=stop existing)

If a buyer isn't found, this famous old club could go out of existence.

▪ acknowledge/recognize/accept the existence of something (=agree that something exists)

They organization finally acknowledged the existence of a problem.

▪ prove/confirm/establish the existence of something (=prove that something exists)

The images confirm the existence of water on the planet's surface.

▪ deny the existence of something (=say that something does not exists)

He strongly denied the existence of God.

▪ doubt the existence of something (=not believe that something exists)

Some people doubt the existence of life at the very bottom of the ocean.

▪ jeopardize/threaten the existence of something (=make it likely that something will stop existing)

The strike could jeopardize the existence of his company.

▪ owe your existence to something (=be able to exist because of something)

The birds owe their existence to the fact that there are no natural predators on the island.

■ adjectives

▪ brief/short

The band had rather a brief existence.


The show's existence was extremely short.

▪ human existence

Darwin's theory of natural selection changed our view of human existence forever.

▪ something's very existence

The university's very existence is at stake.

▪ something's actual existence

Poaching now threatens the animal's actual existence.

▪ something's continued existence

The city's continued existence is threatened by rising water levels.

▪ something's mere existence (=just the fact that something exists)

The mere existence of a contract does not guarantee that you will be paid.

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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ adjectives

▪ everyday/daily/day-to-day existence (=someone's normal life that is the same most days)

He saw drugs as a way of escaping the tedium of his everyday existence.

▪ a lonely/solitary existence (=without anyone else with you)

Male bears live a mostly solitary existence, away from the female and cubs.

▪ a miserable existence (=very unpleasant)

The refugees had to endure a miserable existence in the desert.

▪ a dull/routine existence

I was overjoyed at the prospect of leaving my routine existence behind.

▪ a frugal existence (=without much money)

He led a hard and frugal existence.

▪ a hand-to-mouth existence (=with just enough food or money to live)

The survivors lived a hand-to-mouth existence until they were rescued.

▪ a precarious existence (=only just managing to live)

The islanders, who rely solely on the sea to provide food, have a precarious existence.

▪ a comfortable existence (=with plenty of food and money)

He left behind his comfortable existence to become a monk.

▪ a peaceful existence

The various tribes on the island enjoyed a relatively peaceful existence.

▪ a quiet existence

He led a quiet existence, broken only by occasional visits from his family.

▪ a rural/urban/suburban existence (=life in the country/city/suburbs)

The girls hated their drab suburban existence.

■ verbs

▪ lead/live a solitary/frugal etc existence

The women lead a miserable existence.

▪ enjoy a peaceful/quiet etc existence

They enjoy a comfortable existence.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.