Meaning of PRESENT in English

I. pres ‧ ent 1 S2 W2 /ˈprez ə nt/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: Latin praesens , present participle of praeesse 'to be before' ]

1 . PLACE [not before noun] in a particular place OPP absent

present at/in

Foreign observers were present at the elections.

the gases present in the Earth’s atmosphere

2 . MEMORY [not before noun] to be felt strongly or remembered for a long time

present in

The memory of her brother’s death is still present in her mind.

3 . TIME [only before noun] happening or existing now:

the present situation of the millions of people who are suffering poverty and disease

At the present time we have no explanation for this.

4 . the present day ( also the present ) in the time now, or modern times:

The practice has continued from medieval times to the present day.

5 . all present and correct British English , all present and accounted for American English used to say that everyone who is supposed to be in a place, at a meeting etc is now here

6 . present company excepted spoken used when you are criticizing a group of people and you want to tell the people you are with that they are not included in the criticism:

Women are never satisfied with anything! Present company excepted, of course.

⇨ ↑ presently

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▪ present [only before noun] happening or existing now:

The present situation could get much worse.


the present century


There are no plans to build more houses here at the present time.

▪ current [only before noun] present – used especially about something that is not expected to stay the same for long:

current trends in fashion


the current state of the UK economy

▪ existing [only before noun] formal existing or being used now – used about things or situations that you think may be changed in the future:

The existing offices are too small.


The proposal will strengthen existing immigration laws.

▪ contemporary [only before noun] used about the art, writing, ideas, society etc that belong to the present time:

the impact of computer-generated imagery on contemporary art and design


contemporary music in Russia

▪ today’s/of today used about conditions and attitudes that exist now, when you are comparing them with those that existed in the past:

People struggle to keep up with the pace of life in today’s world of instant communications.


the liberal ideology of today

II. pre ‧ sent 2 S2 W1 /prɪˈzent/ BrE AmE verb

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: presenter , from Latin praesentare , from praesens ; ⇨ ↑ present 1 ]

1 . GIVE [transitive] to give something to someone, for example at a formal or official occasion

present somebody with something

He was presented with a bottle of champagne.

She was presented with an award.

present something to somebody/something

The computer centre presented a cheque for £500 to cancer research.

2 . CAUSE SOMETHING TO HAPPEN [transitive] to cause something to happen or exist

present somebody with something

I knew I had presented her with an impossible task.

present a problem/difficulty

Large classes present great problems to many teachers.

3 . present yourself to talk and behave in a particular way when you meet people:

He presents himself well.

4 . DESCRIPTION [transitive] to show or describe someone or something:

The artist was determined to present an accurate picture.

We’ll present the information using a chart.

present somebody as something

Shakespeare presents the hero as a noble man doomed to make mistakes.

present yourself as something

The government presents itself as being sensitive to environmental issues.

5 . SPEECH [transitive] to give a speech in which you offer an idea, plan etc to be considered or accepted:

Our manager is due to present the report at the end of the month.

present something to somebody

On January 3 the company will present its plans to the bank.

6 . DOCUMENT/TICKET [transitive] to show something such as an official document or ticket to someone in an official position:

You must present your passport to the customs officer.

7 . THEATRE/CINEMA [transitive] to give a performance in a theatre, cinema etc, or broadcast a programme on television or radio:

Edinburgh Theatre Company presents ‘The Wind in the Willows’.

8 . TELEVISION/RADIO [transitive] British English if you present a television or radio programme, you introduce its different parts SYN host American English :

Thursday’s ‘The Late Show’ was presented by Cynthia Rose.

9 . APPEARANCE [transitive] to give something or someone a particular appearance or style:

The restaurant likes to present food with style.

10 . something presents itself if a situation, opportunity etc presents itself, it suddenly happens or exists:

I’ll tell her as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

11 . FORMALLY INTRODUCE SOMEBODY [transitive] to formally introduce someone to another person, especially to someone of a very high rank:

I was presented to the Queen in 1964.

12 . present your apologies/compliments etc formal used to greet someone, say sorry to them etc very politely:

Mrs. Gottlieb presents her apologies and regrets she will not be able to attend.

13 . ILLNESS [intransitive and transitive] medical to show an illness by having a particular ↑ symptom (=sign of an illness) :

The doctor asked whether any of the children had been presenting any unusual symptoms.

Three of the five patients presented with fever and severe headaches.

14 . present arms when soldiers present arms, they hold their guns straight up in front of them while an officer or other important person walks past

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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ nouns

▪ present a problem

These mountain roads present problems even to experienced drivers.

▪ present difficulties

Juggling work and family responsibilities presents difficulties for women.

▪ present a challenge

I'm enjoying my new job because it presents an interesting challenge.

▪ present a threat

The disease presents a grave threat to the livestock industry.

▪ present an obstacle (=cause a problem that is difficult to deal with or solve)

The lack of money presented a massive obstacle.

• • •


▪ give to let someone have something, without expecting to be paid for it:

He was always giving me gifts.


They gave a free drink to all their customers.

▪ donate to give money to an organization that helps people or protects something, or to give your blood or part of your body to save someone’s life:

The company donates 1 per cent of its profits to charity.


70% of people wanted to donate their organs after death.

▪ award to officially give money or a prize to someone:

She was awarded a million dollars in damages.


Hollywood awarded him an Oscar for his performance.

▪ present to formally or officially give something to someone by putting it in their hands, especially at a formal ceremony:

They presented her with a bouquet of flowers.

▪ leave ( also bequeath /bɪˈkwiːð, bɪˈkwiːθ/ formal ) to officially arrange for someone to have something that you own after your death:

He left most of his property to his wife.

▪ lavish somebody with something/lavish something on somebody formal to give someone a lot of something, especially praise, attention, or gifts:

After his team won, the press lavished him with praise.

▪ confer formal to give someone an honour, a university degree, or the right or power to do something:

the powers conferred on him by Parliament


the highest honor that her country could confer on her

▪ bestow formal to give someone something to show how much they are respected, for example an honour, a title, or a gift – a very formal use:

He was also bestowed the title of ‘Cultural Ambassador of Grenada’.

III. pres ‧ ent 3 S2 W3 /ˈprez ə nt/ BrE AmE noun

[ Sense 1: Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: presenter ; ⇨ ↑ present 2 ]

[ Sense 2-4: Date: 1200-1300 ; Origin: ⇨ ↑ present 1 ]

1 . [countable] something you give someone on a special occasion or to thank them for something SYN gift :

I’m looking for a present for Mark.

2 . the present

a) the time that is happening now:

Stop worrying about the past and live in the present.

The film is set sometime between 1995 and the present.

‘When do you want to start?’ ‘Well, there’s no time like the present (=used to say that if you are going to do something at all, you should do it now) .’

b) technical the form of the verb that shows what exists or is happening now SYN the present tense

3 . at present at this time SYN now :

The item you want is not available at present.

At present, the airport handles 110 flights a day.


In everyday English, people usually say at the moment rather than at present :

I’m looking for a new job at the moment.

4 . for the present something that exists or will be done for the present exists now and will continue for a while, though it may change in the future:

The company is still in business, at least for the present.


In everyday English, people usually say for now , rather than for the present :

That’s all we have time for for now.

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■ verbs

▪ give somebody a present

He gave everyone a present.

▪ give something as a present

I was given this book as a present.

▪ buy somebody a present ( also get somebody a present informal )

I want to buy a present for Lucy but I'm not sure what she'd like.


Did you get Bill a birthday present?

▪ get a present (=receive a present)

Children soon learn to enjoy giving presents as well as getting them.

▪ wrap a present

She spent the afternoon wrapping Christmas presents.

▪ open/unwrap a present

Can we open our presents now?

▪ exchange presents (=give each other a present)

We always exchange Christmas and birthday presents.


▪ a birthday present

Thanks for the birthday present.

▪ a Christmas present

What would Dad like as a Christmas present?

▪ a wedding present

His wedding present to her had been a diamond necklace.


► Do not say ' unpack a present '. Say open a present .

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