Why was clemency trending last week?


[prez-uh nt-lee] /ˈprɛz ənt li/
in a little while; soon:
They will be here presently.
at the present time; now:
He is presently out of the country.
Archaic. immediately.
Origin of presently
1350-1400; Middle English; see present1, -ly
Can be confused
currently, immediately, momentarily, now, presently, soon (see synonym study at immediately; see usage note at the current entry)
1. shortly, forthwith.
1. later.
Usage note
The two apparently contradictory meanings of presently, “in a little while, soon” and “at the present time, now,” are both old in the language. In the latter meaning presently dates back to the 15th century. It is currently in standard use in all varieties of speech and writing in both Great Britain and the United States. The sense “soon” arose gradually during the 16th century. Strangely, it is the older sense “now” that is sometimes objected to by usage guides. The two senses are rarely if ever confused in actual practice. 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). The semantic development of presently parallels that of anon, which first had the meaning, now archaic, of “at once, immediately,” but later came to mean “soon.” Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for presently
  • Perhaps you might know someone who is presently growing hops who would give you a root cutting in the dormant season.
  • It is a beautifully-produced volume that is among the best summaries of dinosaur science presently available.
  • Thanks to an infusion of government funding, however, construction on a new visitor center is presently underway.
  • The fossils are presently under the jurisdiction of a federal bankruptcy court.
  • We are presently about half-way out in the expanding phase.
  • As things presently stand that evidence has not been provided.
  • Indeed, skills that the majority of employers are presently seeking.
  • The catfish is one of several fish species presently endangered in the watershed.
  • Robots will also do initial reconnaissance for places presently too remote because of our limited propulsion technology.
  • presently he informed us that he was a ship's doctor.
British Dictionary definitions for presently


in a short while; soon
at the moment
an archaic word for immediately
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for presently

late 14c., "immediately, at this time," from present (adj.) + -ly (2). By 1560s it had relaxed into "sooner or later."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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