- 1 [intransitive] (not used in the progressive tenses) to be real; to be present in a place or situation Does life exist on other planets? The problem only exists in your head, Jane. Few of these monkeys still exist in the wild. On his retirement the post will cease to exist. The charity exists to support victims of crime.
- 2[intransitive] exist (on something) to live, especially in a difficult situation or with very little money We existed on a diet of rice. They can't exist on the money he's earning. Word Origin early 17th cent.: probably a back-formation from existence.Extra examples He argued that ideas do not exist independently of the language that expresses them. I didn’t think people like that existed any more. The technology did not yet exist. They appear to exist in significant numbers. a species with only about a thousand believed to exist in the wild companies that exist solely for the purpose of mortgage lending the enormous volcanoes now known to exist on Mars A temple existed here hundreds of years ago. The problem only exists in your head, Ben.
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BrE BrE//ɪɡˈzɪst//; NAmE NAmE//ɪɡˈzɪst//Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they exist
BrE BrE//ɪɡˈzɪst//; NAmE NAmE//ɪɡˈzɪst//he / she / it exists
BrE BrE//ɪɡˈzɪsts//; NAmE NAmE//ɪɡˈzɪsts//past simple existed
BrE BrE//ɪɡˈzɪstɪd//; NAmE NAmE//ɪɡˈzɪstɪd//past participle existed
BrE BrE//ɪɡˈzɪstɪd//; NAmE NAmE//ɪɡˈzɪstɪd//-ing form existing
BrE BrE//ɪɡˈzɪstɪŋ//; NAmE NAmE//ɪɡˈzɪstɪŋ//