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ghostly presence

An unspecified yet palpable and typically somewhat sinister presence, attendance, or existence. Though the country had finally reached a period of peace, the ghostly presence of its violent past hung heavily on the minds of the citizens. The characters never discuss the absent father directly, but this very avoidance gives him a ghostly presence throughout the novel.
See also: presence

grace someone or something with one's presence

Fig. to honor someone or something with one's presence. "How nice of you to grace us with your presence," Mr. Wilson told Mary sarcastically as she entered the classroom late. The banquet was graced with the presence of the governor.
See also: grace, presence

have the presence of mind to do something

Fig. to have the calmness and ability to act sensibly in an emergency or difficult situation. Jane had the presence of mind to phone the police when the child disappeared. The child had the presence of mind to write down the car's license-plate number.
See also: have, mind, of, presence

make your presence felt

to have a strong effect on other people or on a situation Hockney made his presence felt in the New York art world shortly after he arrived there. The rebels have already made their bloody presence felt during the election campaign.
See also: felt, make, presence

make your presence felt

to have a strong effect on other people or on a situation The new police chief has really made his presence felt.
See also: felt, make, presence

presence of mind

The ability to act sensibly, promptly, and appropriately, especially in a difficult situation or emergency. For example, Distraught about losing her wallet and passport, she had the presence of mind to notify the authorities at once . This idiom in effect says that one's mind is present and functioning. [Second half of 1600s]
See also: mind, of, presence
References in classic literature ?
That bugle-sound announces something which may require my presence.
Only from Numa did she attempt to conceal her presence.
Meunier had now a European reputation; but his letter to me expressed that keen remembrance of an early regard, an early debt of sympathy, which is inseparable from nobility of character: and I too felt as if his presence would be to me like a transient resurrection into a happier pre-existence.
Yet while so deeply demoralised he was capable again of an impulse denoting - at least by his present measure - extraordinary resolution; of retracing his steps to the spot where he had turned cold with the extinction of his last pulse of doubt as to there being in the place another presence than his own.
Kulan Tith commands your presence before him," he said.
It was a mood that took such clear-eyed account of the conditions of human life that he was not disturbed in the least by the gliding presence of a taxicab, and without agitation he perceived that Katharine was conscious of it also, and turned her head in that direction.
Instantly he was surrounded, and a volley of questions hurled at him, as he was pulled from his horse and led toward the presence of the commander.
Then the minister came, and in that overshadowing presence the lesser lights went into eclipse.
An eminent physiologist accounts for the presence of rudimentary organs, by supposing that they serve to excrete matter in excess, or injurious to the system; but can we suppose that the minute papilla, which often represents the pistil in male flowers, and which is formed merely of cellular tissue, can thus act?
All these things are so blended and mingled that we feel the charm of their presence, yet cannot tell in what that charm consists, and every movement is an expression of a divine soul within.
said I, not deigning to notice the other's buffooneries: 'you needn't fear to say anything in my presence.
Modest is even the thief in presence of sleep: he always stealeth softly through the night.
You said only a--a woman's hand and heart or a child's presence could make a home.
This child's presence always and infallibly called up in Vronsky that strange feeling of inexplicable loathing which he had experienced of late.
Besides the investigation into the manner in which the deceased had met his death, there were serious questions to be settled relating to the cause of the fire, to the abstraction of the keys, and to the presence of a stranger in the vestry at the time when the flames broke out.