early 14c., "fact of being present," from O.Fr. presence (12c.), from L. præsentia "a being present," from præsentem (see present (n.)). Meaning "carriage, demeanor, aspect" (especially if impressive) is from 1570s; that of "divine, spiritual or incorporeal being felt as present" is from 1660s. Presence of mind (1660s) is a loan-transl. of Fr. présence d'esprit, L. præsentia animi.