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in a little while, soon, shortly: The supervisor will be back presently.
Not to be confused with:
currently – at the present time: She is currently working on her thesis.
Abused, Confused, & Misused Words by Mary Embree Copyright © 2007, 2013 by Mary Embree


1. In a short time; soon: She will arrive presently.
2. Usage Problem At this time or period; now: He is presently staying with us.
3. Archaic At once; immediately.
Usage Note: The original use of presently to mean "at the present time, currently" goes back to the late 1300s. This usage seems to have disappeared from the written record in the 1600s, but it probably survived in speech, as it is widely found nowadays in both speech and writing. Perhaps because this sense was not treated in dictionaries until relatively recently, some language critics have argued that this usage is an error and that presently should only be used in the sense of "in a short time, soon," as in the shopkeeper's I will be with you presently. In four surveys from 1965 to 1999, only 47-50 percent of the Usage Panel accepted the "currently" usage in sentences like She is presently the secretary of state. By 2011, 63 percent found this sentence acceptable. So, although many still adhere to this guideline, resistance appears to be waning.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. in a short while; soon
2. at the moment
3. an archaic word for immediately
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈprɛz ənt li)

1. in a little while; soon.
2. at the present time; now.
3. Archaic. immediately.
syn: See immediately.
usage: The meaning “now” of presently dates back to the 15th century; it is currently in standard use in all varieties of speech and writing. The sense “soon” arose gradually during the 16th century. Strangely, it is the older sense “now” that usage guides sometimes object to. The two senses are rarely if ever confused. presently meaning “now” is most often used with the present tense (The professor is presently on sabbatical leave) and presently meaning “soon” often with the future tense (The supervisor will be back presently).
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
momentarily, presently - Momentarily means "in a moment"; presently means "soon" or "shortly."
See also related terms for moment.
Farlex Trivia Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. used to mean 'soon'

If something will happen presently, it will happen quite soon.

He will be here presently.
I shall have more to say presently.

If you are talking about the past, you use presently to say that something happened quite soon after something else.

Presently all was quiet again.
He was shown to a small office. Presently, a young woman in a white coat came in.

Both these uses of presently are slightly old-fashioned.

2. used to mean 'now'

Some people use presently after be to mean 'now'.

...the oil and gas rigs that are presently in operation.
She is presently developing a number of projects.

This use of presently is fairly new in British English, and some speakers find it unacceptable. Instead of 'presently', you can say at present.

He is at present serving a life sentence.
The comet is at present between the constellations of Pegasus and Delphinius.

You can put at present at the beginning or end of a clause. You cannot do this with 'presently' when it means 'now'.

At present there is a world energy shortage.
We're short of staff at present.
Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.presently - in the near futurepresently - in the near future; "the doctor will soon be here"; "the book will appear shortly"; "she will arrive presently"; "we should have news before long"
2.presently - at this time or period; now; "he is presently our ambassador to the United Nations"; "currently they live in Connecticut"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. at present, currently, now, today, these days, nowadays, at the present time, in this day and age, at the minute (Brit. informal) The island is presently uninhabited.
2. soon, shortly, directly, before long, momentarily (U.S. & Canad.), in a moment, in a minute, pretty soon (informal), anon (archaic), by and by, in a short while, in a jiffy (informal), erelong (archaic or poetic) Just take it easy and you'll feel better presently.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002
حالا، قَريباًحَالِيّاًفي الوَقت الحاضِر
for tideni øjeblikketsnart
eins og stendurrétt strax
az sonraçok geçmedenşimdişu anda
ngay đây


[ˈprezntlɪ] ADV
1. (= shortly) → dentro de poco, al rato
you'll feel better presentlyenseguida te sentirás mejor
presently, he woke uppoco después se despertó
2. (US) (= now) → en este momento, actualmente
they're presently on touractualmente están de gira
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈprɛzəntli] adv
(= soon) → bientôt
You'll feel better presently → Tu vas bientôt te sentir mieux.
(= at present) → actuellement
They're presently on tour → Ils sont actuellement en tournée.
(= shortly afterwards) → peu de temps aprèspresent participle nparticipe m présentpresent perfect npassé m composépresent tense nprésent m
the present tense → le présent
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(= soon)bald; (= shortly afterwards)bald, bald darauf
(= at present)zurzeit, derzeit, gegenwärtig
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈprɛzntlɪ] adv (shortly) → tra poco, a momenti (esp Am) (now) → adesso, ora
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ˈpreznt) adjective
1. being here, or at the place, occasion etc mentioned. My father was present on that occasion; Who else was present at the wedding?; Now that the whole class is present, we can begin the lesson.
2. existing now. the present moment; the present prime minister.
3. (of the tense of a verb) indicating action now. In the sentence `She wants a chocolate', the verb is in the present tense.
ˈpresently adverb
1. soon. He will be here presently.
2. (especially American) at the present time. The manager is presently on holiday.
the present
the time now. Forget the past – think more of the present and the future!
at present
at the present time. He's away from home at present.
for the present
as far as the present time is concerned. You've done enough work for the present.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


حَالِيّاً nyní for tiden bald προς το παρόν en este momento pian actuellement sada attualmente やがて momenteel for øyeblikket obecnie presentemente в настоящий момент omedelbart ขณะนี้ şu anda ngay đây 目前
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009
References in classic literature ?
I STRODE through the undergrowth that clothed the ridge behind the house, scarcely heeding whither I went; passed on through the shadow of a thick cluster of straight-stemmed trees beyond it, and so presently found myself some way on the other side of the ridge, and descending towards a streamlet that ran through a narrow valley.
But the ship was no good any more--with the big hole in the bottom; and presently the rough sea beat it to pieces on the rocks and the timbers floated away.
Umslopogaas howled in answer, and presently that great wolf Deathgrip came to him.
It was Tarzan who first caught the scent of meat--a bull buffalo--and presently the two came stealthily upon the sleeping beast in the midst of a dense jungle of reeds close to a river.
I was relieved to find that the hotel people evidently considered me the right sort of person, and didn't take me for a Sunday-school treat,--for presently I found myself in a charming little corner bedroom, whence I could survey the whole extent of the little colony of pleasure.
But presently, as nothing happened, he came out, and climbed upon a wheelbarrow, and peeped over.
Our adventures on the way were many and various, but as they are of the sort which befall every African hunter--with one exception to be presently detailed--I shall not set them down here, lest I should render this history too wearisome.
Before him he could hear the occasional low moans of the banth, and presently from behind came a similar uncanny note.
As he watched the man, he presently noticed that his eyelids were moving.
Tom presently began to drift insensibly back into the con- cerns of this life again.
They passed in out of sight and presently there was a most awe-in- spiring racket in the wood.
The fatigue was so great that it presently began to make some head against the nervous excitement; while imagining myself wide awake, I would really doze into momentary unconsciousness, and come suddenly out of it with a physical jerk which nearly wrenched my joints apart--the delusion of the instant being that I was tumbling backward over a precipice.