Present vs present

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Present and present are two words that are spelled identically but are pronounced differently and have different meanings, which makes them heteronyms. We will examine the definitions of the words present and present, where these words came from, and a few examples of their use in sentences.

Present (PREZ ent) may be used as an a adjective to mean to be in a particular place, to exist or occur at the current time, to focus on what is currently occurring. Present is also used as a noun to mean the current period of time. The word present may also mean a gift that one gives for a birthday, Christmas, or other holiday or occasion. The plural of present is presents. The word present comes from the Old French word, present, which means within reach.

Present (pre ZENT) is a verb that means to give something to someone, to make a formal gift of an award or honor to someone, to submit something for others’ consideration. Related words are presents, presented, presenting, presentation, presenter. The word present is derived from the Old French word presenter, which means to exhibit.


Work on stage happens in the present, at a particular moment: it can’t, any more than life, be rewound or fast-forwarded. (The Guardian)

“I gave him a present at dinner and a card, and he gave me nothing in return,” she says. (Boston Magazine)

He asked others in the military to present him with their own ideas and vowed to visit with troops in the field in the coming months to discuss concerns they have about race within the ranks. (Stars and Stripes)

In the interview, Lisa also said she relishes not having to wake up anymore at dawn to present on television. (The Daily Mail)