presence of mind


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presence of mind

A sensible, cool-headed mentality that allows one to remain calm and make quick, intelligent decisions. Before fleeing the house, Margaret had the presence of mind to turn off the circuit breaker so that the electrical fire wouldn't spread as quickly. The board of directors was very impressed with the presence of mind Tom displayed during the Baker trial.
See also: mind, of, 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

presence of mind

the ability to remain calm and take quick, sensible action when faced with difficulty or danger.
See also: mind, of, presence

ˌpresence of ˈmind

the ability to react quickly and stay calm in a difficult or dangerous situation: A little girl from Leeds showed remarkable presence of mind yesterday when she saved her brothers from a fire in their home.The boy had the presence of mind to switch off the gas.
See also: mind, of, presence
References in periodicals archive ?
Yet this Casanova cannot love, at least not in the romantic manner of popular sentiment, depending instead on presence of mind, wit, and supreme confidence to sway ordinary mortals.
She had enough presence of mind to quickly turn off the gas stove, and we scrambled to a doorway.
Learning a yoga pose is similar to learning a song from total absence of knowledge to total presence of mind within the body.
Fortunately, she has the presence of mind (and the dagger) to kill him.
There is no doubt that had she not had the presence of mind and courage to confront this man, the incident could have been even more horrific.'
Although the freshman was new to the study of carbon nanotubes, "he had the presence of mind to come and tell me," says Ajayan.
If you've got the presence of mind, push your bitten arm/ hand toward the dog.
Chandler verified that all people were out of the office--then had the presence of mind to lock the door.
Claire Mithelman September 24, 1921-December 18, 1998." Imagine the presence of mind! Heartbreaking wit, small-town division.
The dancers had the presence of mind to bring a cellular phone with them into the bathroom, so they could summon paramedics, who then worked for more than an hour to free them from the rubble.
A capable professional soldier, he retained his presence of mind during crises, and was more realistic than Conrad von Hotzendorf in tailoring plans and objectives to the limited capabilities of the Austro-Hungarian army.
"Luckily, she had the presence of mind to contact us, and we helped her find a unit that would do the job."
White, who died last week at 86, was a New Yorker in the most graceful way: he had the presence of mind, the sense of humor and the instinct for survival to spend most of his time in Maine.
'We're practicing a lot of things, it's just that the players get confused and their presence of mind isn't there during games.'
This was just like the Sri Lankan cricket team which was proceeding from its hotel in Lahore to the Gaddafi Stadium to play a Test on March 3, 2009, when they were attacked but escaped with injuries only owing to the presence of mind of the bus driver Meher Khalil.
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