from The Century Dictionary.

  • Being or abiding, as a person, in this or any specified place; being in view or immediately at hand: opposed to absent.
  • Present in this sense is often used in addressing a letter which is to be delivered to some one either actually present, or near at hand, as in the same neighborhood or town.
  • Now existing; being at this time; not past or future: as, the present session of Congress.
  • Being now in mind, Under consideration.
  • Actually in consciousness.
  • Prompt or ready at need.
  • noun Present time; time now passing.
  • noun Present business; an affair in hand.
  • noun The money or other property a person has on hand.
  • noun plural In law, a term used in a deed of conveyance, a lease, letter of attorney, or other document, to express the document itself; this present writing: as in the phrase “Know all men by these presents” (that is. by this very document, by the words here set down); hence, any writ or writing.
  • noun In grammar, the present tense.
  • At once; immediately; presently.
  • To bring or introduce into the presence of some one, especially of a superior; recommend for acquaintance; make known: as, to present an envoy to the king; with a reflexive pronoun, to come into the presence of any one.
  • To show; exhibit; demonstrate; reveal.
  • To bring or lay before one for acceptance; offer as a gift, generally with formality; make an offer or expression of; hence, to bestow; give: as, to present a ring or a book to a friend; to present one's compliments.
  • To approach with a gift or offering; give a present to; bestow a gift upon.
  • To hand over ceremoniously; give in charge or possession, as for use or service.
  • Eccles., to offer or recommend to the bishop or ordinary as a candidate for institution. See presentation, 5.
  • To nominate for support at a public school or other institution.
  • To proffer; offer openly.
  • To lay before a judge, magistrate, or governing body for action or consideration; submit, as a petition, remonstrance, etc., for decision or settlement to the proper authorities.
  • To accuse to the authorities; bring a charge against before those having authority to act upon it; lay before a court of judicature, as an object of inquiry; give notice of officially, as for a crime or offense.
  • To direct; point; level; aim, as a weapon or firearm: as, to present a loaded pistol.
  • To represent; personate; act.
  • To make a presentation, particularly to an ecclesiastical office.
  • noun A thing presented or given; a gift.
  • noun (prē˙-zent′ ). [An elliptical use of the verb.] Milit., the position from which a rifle or musket is fired.
  • noun Synonyms Present, Gift, Donation, Gratuity, Largess, Grant. The difference between present and gift is felt in the fact that one may be willing to accept as a present that which he would not be willing to accept as a gift: a gift is to help the one receiving it; a present does him honor, or expresses friendly feeling toward him. A present is therefore ordinarily to an individual; but in law gift is used, to the exclusion of present, as including all transfers of property without consideration and for the benefit of the donee. A donation is of considerable value, and generally made to some public institution: as, a donation of books to a public library. Gratuity emphasizes the fact that the receiver has no legal claim to the gift; it is a gift to an inferior, as a fee to a servant, and generally a small sum: as, a self-respecting man will not expect a gratuity for every little service. Largess is an old word, representing a gift from a superior, especially one high in authority, generally shared by a considerable number. A grant is rarely the act of a private individual, but rather of a sovereign, legislature, or corporation: as, a grant of land to a company.
  • In obstetrics, to appear first: said of the part of the fetus which is in advance during labor. See presentation, 6.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Mil.) The position of a soldier in presenting arms.
  • noun Anything presented or given; a gift; a donative.
  • transitive verb To bring or introduce into the presence of some one, especially of a superior; to introduce formally; to offer for acquaintance; ; (with the reciprocal pronoun) to come into the presence of a superior.
  • transitive verb To exhibit or offer to view or notice; to lay before one's perception or cognizance; to set forth; to present a fine appearance.
  • transitive verb To pass over, esp. in a ceremonious manner; to give in charge or possession; to deliver; to make over.
  • transitive verb To make a gift of; to bestow; to give, generally in a formal or ceremonious manner; to grant; to confer.
  • transitive verb Hence: To endow; to bestow a gift upon; to favor, as with a donation; also, to court by gifts.
  • transitive verb obsolete To present; to personate.
  • transitive verb To nominate to an ecclesiastical benefice; to offer to the bishop or ordinary as a candidate for institution.
  • transitive verb U.S, U.S To nominate for support at a public school or other institution .
  • transitive verb U.S, U.S To lay before a public body, or an official, for consideration, as before a legislature, a court of judicature, a corporation, etc..
  • transitive verb U.S, U.S To lay before a court as an object of inquiry; to give notice officially of, as a crime of offence; to find or represent judicially.
  • transitive verb U.S To bring an indictment against .
  • transitive verb To aim, point, or direct, as a weapon.
  • transitive verb (Mil.) the command in response to which the gun is carried perpendicularly in front of the center of the body, and held there with the left hand grasping it at the lower band, and the right hand grasping the small of the stock, in token of respect, as in saluting a superior officer; also, the position taken at such a command.
  • noun Present time; the time being; time in progress now, or at the moment contemplated; as, at this present.
  • noun (Law) Present letters or instrument, as a deed of conveyance, a lease, letter of attorney, or other writing; as in the phrase, “ Know all men by these presents,” that is, by the writing itself, “ per has literas praesentes; ” -- in this sense, rarely used in the singular.
  • noun (Gram.) A present tense, or the form of the verb denoting the present tense.
  • noun at the present time; now.
  • noun for the tine being; temporarily.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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".


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  • All present and accounted for; present an award.

    November 22, 2007

  • adj. Now being considered; actually here or involved: the present subject; present company excepted.

    A good substitute for this. The present edition.

    February 19, 2012