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

  • n. A moment or period in time perceptible as intermediate between past and future; now.
  • n. Grammar The present tense.
  • n. Grammar A verb form in the present tense.
  • n. Law The document or instrument in question: Be it known by these presents.
  • adj. Existing or happening now; current: the present leader; present trends.
  • adj. Being at hand or in attendance: Thirty guests were present at the ceremony.
  • adj. Existing in something specified: Oxygen is present in the bloodstream.
  • adj. Now being considered; actually here or involved: the present subject; present company excepted.
  • adj. Grammar Designating a verb tense or form that expresses current time.
  • adj. Archaic Readily available; immediate.
  • adj. Obsolete Alert to circumstances; attentive.
  • idiom at present At the present time; right now.
  • idiom for the present For the time being; temporarily.
  • transitive v. To introduce, especially with formal ceremony.
  • transitive v. To introduce (a young woman) to society with conventional ceremony.
  • transitive v. To bring before the public: present a play.
  • transitive v. To make a gift or award of.
  • transitive v. To make a gift to.
  • transitive v. To offer for observation, examination, or consideration; show or display. See Synonyms at offer.
  • transitive v. To afford or furnish: The situation presented us with a chance to improve our knowledge.
  • transitive v. To turn or position in the direction of another: presented his face to the camera.
  • transitive v. To attach (an antigen, for example) on the surface of a molecule for detection by other molecules.
  • transitive v. To hold, carry, or point (a weapon) in a particular manner as a salutation or sign of honor, usually along the center axis of the body.
  • transitive v. Ecclesiastical To recommend (a cleric) for a benefice.
  • transitive v. Law To offer to a legislature or court for consideration.
  • transitive v. Law To bring a charge or indictment against.
  • intransitive v. To manifest as a part of a disease or medical condition.
  • intransitive v. To make a presentation.
  • n. Something presented; a gift.
  • n. The position of a rifle or other weapon when presented.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Relating to now, for the time being; current.
  • adj. Located in the immediate vicinity.
  • n. The current moment or period of time.
  • n. The present tense.
  • n. A gift, especially one given for birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, or any other special occasions.
  • n. The position of a soldier in presenting arms.
  • v. To reveal, to show.
  • v. To offer to a court or legislature for consideration.
  • v. To demand that a drawee pay, or that the presenter's bank accept, (a draft).
  • v. To award a trophy, gift, etc, to.
  • v. To come to the attention of medical staff

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Being at hand, within reach or call, within certain contemplated limits; -- opposed to absent.
  • adj. Now existing, or in process; begun but not ended; now in view, or under consideration; being at this time; not past or future
  • adj. Not delayed; immediate; instant; coincident.
  • adj. Ready; quick in emergency; as a present wit.
  • adj. Favorably attentive; propitious.
  • n. Present time; the time being; time in progress now, or at the moment contemplated; as, at this present.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A present tense, or the form of the verb denoting the present tense.
  • n. Anything presented or given; a gift; a donative.
  • n. The position of a soldier in presenting arms.
  • intransitive v. 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.
  • transitive v. 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 v. 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 v. To pass over, esp. in a ceremonious manner; to give in charge or possession; to deliver; to make over.
  • transitive v. To make a gift of; to bestow; to give, generally in a formal or ceremonious manner; to grant; to confer.
  • transitive v. Hence: To endow; to bestow a gift upon; to favor, as with a donation; also, to court by gifts.
  • transitive v. To present; to personate.
  • transitive v.
  • transitive v. To nominate to an ecclesiastical benefice; to offer to the bishop or ordinary as a candidate for institution.
  • transitive v. To nominate for support at a public school or other institution .
  • transitive v. To lay before a public body, or an official, for consideration, as before a legislature, a court of judicature, a corporation, etc..
  • transitive v. 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 v. To bring an indictment against .
  • transitive v. To aim, point, or direct, as a weapon.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. Present time; time now passing.
  • n. Present business; an affair in hand.
  • n. The money or other property a person has on hand.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • In obstetrics, to appear first: said of the part of the fetus which is in advance during labor. See presentation, 6.
  • n. A thing presented or given; a gift.
  • n. (prē˙-zent′ ). [An elliptical use of the verb.] Milit., the position from which a rifle or musket is fired.
  • n. 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.

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

  • v. hand over formally
  • v. introduce
  • v. give an exhibition of to an interested audience
  • v. give as a present; make a gift of
  • v. deliver (a speech, oration, or idea)
  • v. recognize with a gesture prescribed by a military regulation; assume a prescribed position
  • v. cause to come to know personally
  • n. a verb tense that expresses actions or states at the time of speaking
  • n. the period of time that is happening now; any continuous stretch of time including the moment of speech
  • v. represent abstractly, for example in a painting, drawing, or sculpture
  • v. bring forward and present to the mind
  • adj. being or existing in a specified place
  • v. present somebody with something, usually to accuse or criticize
  • v. give, especially as an honor or reward
  • v. perform (a play), especially on a stage
  • n. something presented as a gift
  • adj. temporal sense; intermediate between past and future; now existing or happening or in consideration
  • v. formally present a debutante, a representative of a country, etc.


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

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin praesēns, praesent-, present participle of praeesse, to be present : prae-, pre- + esse, to be; see es- in Indo-European roots.
Middle English presenten, from Old French presenter, from Latin presentāre, to show, from praesēns, praesent-, present participle of praeesse, to be in front of; see present1.

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".


  • + -- _He promised me a present = A present was promised me_ (regular) = _I was promised a present_ (idiomatic).

    Higher Lessons in English A work on english grammar and composition

  • The pronoun _I_ should always be capitalized, and should, when used as part of a compound subject, be placed second; as, _James and I were present, not I and James were present_.

    Practical Grammar and Composition

  • [Footnote: If the present ends in _e_, the _e_ is dropped when _ed_ is added; as, lov_e_, lov_ed_; believ_e_, believ_ed_.] +An _Irregular Verb_ is one that does not form its past tense and past participle by adding _ed_ to the present+.

    Graded Lessons in English an Elementary English Grammar Consisting of One Hundred Practical Lessons, Carefully Graded and Adapted to the Class-Room

  • "Well," she said, "that's all -- at present"; it had suddenly occurred to her that apprehension was a good thing; "_at present_," she repeated darkly; "and Blair, remember; thieves go to hell."

    The Iron Woman

  • He rightly thinks that the weakness of our _present_ units is _the_ real weakness: he thinks we are far more in need of drafts than of fresh units; he suggests that a rider be sent now to insist that the estimates in yesterday's cable were only made on the assumption that my present force is kept up to strength.

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  • All that you mean to say, therefore, is that the present state of the system is defined by equations into which differential coefficients enter, such as _ds_ | _dt_, _dv_ | _dt_, that is to say, at bottom, _present_ velocities and _present_ accelerations.

    Evolution créatrice. English

  • The principal parts of the Latin verb are the _first person singular of the present indicative_, the _present infinitive_, the _first person singular of the perfect indicative_, and _the perfect passive participle.

    Latin for Beginners

  • From the present stem are formed the _present_, _imperfect_, and

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  • For the present -- _for the present_ "-- she spoke slowly --" I cease to press you to speak at this meeting which has been announced.

    The Coryston Family A Novel

  • By such experimentation the various lines present in the solar spectrum were separated from the complex result, and the conclusion was reached that in the burning surface of the sun certain substances _well known on earth are present_; for the lines of those substances are shown in the spectrum.

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  • 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

  • All present and accounted for; present an award.

    November 22, 2007