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present Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun the period of time that is happening now; any continuous stretch of time including the moment of speech
    • that is enough for the present
    • he lives in the present with no thought of tomorrow
  2. noun something presented as a gift
    • his tie was a present from his wife
  3. noun a verb tense that expresses actions or states at the time of speaking
    present tense.
  4. verb give an exhibition of to an interested audience
    exhibit; demo; demonstrate; show.
    • She shows her dogs frequently
    • We will demo the new software in Washington
  5. verb bring forward and present to the mind
    represent; lay out.
    • We presented the arguments to him
    • We cannot represent this knowledge to our formal reason
  6. verb perform (a play), especially on a stage
    represent; stage.
    • we are going to stage `Othello'
  7. verb hand over formally
  8. verb introduce
    • This poses an interesting question
  9. verb give, especially as an honor or reward
    • bestow honors and prizes at graduation
  10. verb give as a present; make a gift of
    gift; give.
    • What will you give her for her birthday?
  11. verb deliver (a speech, oration, or idea)
    • The commencement speaker presented a forceful speech that impressed the students
  12. verb cause to come to know personally
    acquaint; introduce.
    • permit me to acquaint you with my son
    • introduce the new neighbors to the community
  13. verb represent abstractly, for example in a painting, drawing, or sculpture
    • The father is portrayed as a good-looking man in this painting
  14. verb present somebody with something, usually to accuse or criticize
    confront; face.
    • We confronted him with the evidence
    • He was faced with all the evidence and could no longer deny his actions
    • An enormous dilemma faces us
  15. verb formally present a debutante, a representative of a country, etc.
  16. verb recognize with a gesture prescribed by a military regulation; assume a prescribed position
    • When the officers show up, the soldiers have to salute
  17. adjective temporal sense; intermediate between past and future; now existing or happening or in consideration
    • the present leader
    • articles for present use
    • the present topic
    • the present system
    • present observations
  18. adjective being or existing in a specified place
    • the murderer is present in this room
    • present at the wedding
    • present at the creation

Pres"ent adjective
F. présent, L. praesens,-entis, that is before one, in sight or at hand, p. p. of praeesse to be before; prae before + esse to be. See Essence.
  1. Being at hand, within reach or call, within certain contemplated limits; -- opposed to absent.
    These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. John xiv. 25.
  2. Now existing, or in process; begun but not ended; now in view, or under consideration; being at this time; not past or future; as, the present session of Congress; the present state of affairs; the present instance.
    I'll bring thee to the present business Shak.
  3. Not delayed; immediate; instant; coincident. "A present recompense." "A present pardon." Shak.
    An ambassador . . . desires a present audience. Massinger.
  4. Ready; quick in emergency; as a present wit. R.
  5. Favorably attentive; propitious. Archaic
    To find a god so present to my prayer. Dryden.
Pres"ent noun
Cf. F. présent. See Present, a.
  1. Present time; the time being; time in progress now, or at the moment contemplated; as, at this present.
    Past and present, wound in one. Tennyson.
  2. pl. (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.
  3. (Gram.) A present tense, or the form of the verb denoting the present tense.
Pre*sent" transitive verb
F. présenter, L. praesentare, fr. praesens, a. See Present, a.
imperfect & past participle Presented; present participle & verbal noun Presenting
  1. To bring or introduce into the presence of some one, especially of a superior; to introduce formally; to offer for acquaintance; as, to present an envoy to the king; (with the reciprocal pronoun) to come into the presence of a superior.
    Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the lord. Job i. 6
  2. To exhibit or offer to view or notice; to lay before one's perception or cognizance; to set forth; to present a fine appearance.
    Lectorides's memory is ever . . . presenting him with the thoughts of other persons. I. Watts.
  3. To pass over, esp. in a ceremonious manner; to give in charge or possession; to deliver; to make over.
    So ladies in romance assist their knight, Present the spear, and arm him for the fight. Pope.
  4. To make a gift of; to bestow; to give, generally in a formal or ceremonious manner; to grant; to confer.
    My last, least offering, I present thee now. Cowper.
  5. Hence: To endow; to bestow a gift upon; to favor, as with a donation; also, to court by gifts.
    Octavia presented the poet for him admirable elegy on her son Marcellus. Dryden.
  6. To present; to personate. Obs. Shak.
  7. In specific uses; (a) To nominate to an ecclesiastical benefice; to offer to the bishop or ordinary as a candidate for institution.
    The patron of a church may present his clerk to a parsonage or vicarage; that is, may offer him to the bishop of the diocese to be instituted. Blackstone.
    (b) To nominate for support at a public school or other institution . Lamb. (c) To lay before a public body, or an official, for consideration, as before a legislature, a court of judicature, a corporation, etc.; as, to present a memorial, petition, remonstrance, or indictment. (d) 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; as, a grand jury present certain offenses or nuisances, or whatever they think to be public injuries. (e) To bring an indictment against . U.S (f) To aim, point, or direct, as a weapon; as, to present a pistol or the point of a sword to the breast of another.
Pre*sent" intransitive verb
  1. (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.
Pres"ent noun
F. présent .
  1. Anything presented or given; a gift; a donative; as, a Christmas present. Syn. -- Gift; donation; donative; benefaction. See Gift.
Pre*sent" noun
  1. (Mil.) The position of a soldier in presenting arms; as, to stand at present.

Webster 1913