Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To have actual being; be real.
  • intransitive v. To have life; live: one of the worst actors that ever existed.
  • intransitive v. To live at a minimal level; subsist: barely enough income on which to exist.
  • intransitive v. To continue to be; persist: old customs that still exist in rural areas.
  • intransitive v. To be present under certain circumstances or in a specified place; occur: "Wealth and poverty exist in every demographic category” ( Thomas G. Exter).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to be; have existence; have being or reality

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To be as a fact and not as a mode; to have an actual or real being, whether material or spiritual.
  • intransitive v. To be manifest in any manner; to continue to be.
  • intransitive v. To live; to have life or the functions of vitality.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To have actual being of any kind; actually be at a certain moment or throughout a certain period of time.
  • Hence To live; continue to have life or animation: as, men cannot exist without air, nor fishes without water.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. have an existence, be extant
  • v. support oneself

Etymologies

Latin existere, exsistere, to come forth, be manifest : ex-, ex- + sistere, to stand; see stā- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin existō ("to stand forth, come forth, arise, be"), from ex ("out") + sistere ("to set, place"), caus. of stare ("to stand"); see stand. Compare assist, consist, desist, insist, persist, resist. (Wiktionary)

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