from The Century Dictionary.

  • At once; immediately; presently.
  • 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.
  • In obstetrics, to appear first: said of the part of the fetus which is in advance during labor. See presentation, 6.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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

  • 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.
  • noun [Obs.] at once, without delay.
  • adjective Being at hand, within reach or call, within certain contemplated limits; -- opposed to absent.
  • adjective Now existing, or in process; begun but not ended; now in view, or under consideration; being at this time; not past or future
  • adjective Not delayed; immediate; instant; coincident.
  • adjective rare Ready; quick in emergency; as a present wit.
  • adjective Archaic Favorably attentive; propitious.
  • adjective (Gram.) the tense or form of a verb which expresses action or being in the present time; as, I am writing, I write, or I do write.
  • intransitive verb (Med.) To appear at the mouth of the uterus so as to be perceptible to the finger in vaginal examination; -- said of a part of an infant during labor.
  • noun Anything presented or given; a gift; a donative.
  • noun (Mil.) The position of a soldier in presenting arms.
  • 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.


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