The Meaning of Entity: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of entity? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word entity, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word entity mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary and The Balance, the word entity can be used generally to refer to some being or existence, especially something that is independent, separate or self-contained in the physical form. This individual unit is considered a distinct entity. It can also refer to an organization such as a business or governmental unit that has a separate identity than its members.

A business entity refers to the structure of a business, which affects how taxes are paid and how  liabilities are determined. These are created at the state level. Often, a business has to file documents with a state agency such as the Secretary of State to consider itself a type of business entity like LLCs (limited liability companies), a C Corporation, a limited partnership (AKA limited liability partnerships), general partnerships or general partners, a business trust, sole proprietorships or an unincorporated business, a single entity, or some other such corporate entity that created a business in its own distinct existence. Business owners of a private company might choose to form one of these identities for tax purposes, stakeholders, liability protection of personal assets or personal liability, tax burden or double taxation, or some other reason in the business’ jurisdiction why it makes sense for their business structure. 

The word entity also exists in numerous other languages. Since this word is of Latin origin, you may notice that some of the romance language translations for the word entity are cognates, or very close in spelling and pronunciation, to the word entity itself. This is because the romance languages are derived from Latin and so does the word entity. The below list of translations of entity is provided by Word Sense.

  •  French: entité‎ (fem.)
  •  Maori: hinonga‎
  •  Mandarin: 實體‎, 实体‎ (shítǐ), 整體‎
  •  Russian: существо́‎ (neut.), объе́кт‎ (masc.)
  •  Irish: aonán‎ (masc.), eintiteas‎ (masc.)
  •  Finnish: olento‎, olio‎, kokonaisuus‎, entiteetti‎
  •  Czech: entita‎ (fem.)
  •  German: Wesen‎ (neut.)
  •  Korean: 실재‎
  •  Polish: jednostka‎ (fem.), istnienie‎ (neut.)
  •  Bulgarian: същество́‎ (neut.)
  •  Urdu: ہستی‎ (hasti)
  •  Esperanto: ento‎
  •  Portuguese: entidade‎ (fem.)
  •  Serbo-Croatian: entitet‎ (masc.)
  •  Japanese: 実体‎ (じったい, jittai)
  •  Lithuanian: subjektas‎, esybė‎

What is the origin of the word entity?

According to Etymonline, the word entity has been used since c16 in the 1590s and comes from the Late Latin entitatem and the nominative entitas, from the Medieval Latin entitās/Medieval Latin entitas. This comes from the Latin ens/ēns, from the genitive entis meaning a thing and the root tās. This was proposed by Caesar as present participle of esse meaning to be. While this word was originally abstract, the concrete sense in English has been used since the 1620s. One can add the suffixes ties and tive to make the related words entities (n.) and entitive (adj.)

What are synonyms and antonyms of entity?

There are many different words that one can use in place of the word entity. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. It is very useful to know synonyms for different words in order to avoid repeating yourself, to expand your vocabulary, and to broaden your knowledge of the English language and English grammar. This list of synonyms for entity is from Thesaurus.

  •  quantity
  •  body
  •  thing
  •  organism
  •  article
  •  material
  •  existence
  •  individual
  •  stuff
  •  something
  •  creature
  •  single
  •  presence
  •  item
  •  substance
  •  singleton
  •  body
  •  matter
  •  subsistence
  •  being
  •  object

There are also numerous different words that mean the opposite of the word entity. These opposite words are called antonyms, which are another quick and easy way to expand your vocabulary. This list of antonyms of entity is also provided by Thesaurus.

  •  perception
  •  sense
  •  suggestion
  •  conclusion
  •  flash
  •  end
  •  thought
  •  object
  •  solution
  •  conviction
  •  understanding
  •  hypothesis
  •  clue
  •  intimation
  •  scheme
  •  impression
  •  estimate
  •  purpose
  •  significance
  •  feeling
  •  belief
  •  import
  •  interpretation
  •  hint
  •  meaning
  •  pattern
  •  fancy
  •  concept
  •  form
  •  opinion
  •  reason
  •  viewpoint
  •  intention
  •  approximation
  •  objective
  •  design
  •  view
  •  believed abstraction
  •  suspicion
  •  teaching
  •  essence
  •  doctrine
  •  judgment
  •  conception
  •  brainstorm
  •  guess
  •  theory
  •  idea
  •  aim
  •  plan
  •  notion
  •  inkling

How can the word entity be used in a sentence?

The word entity can be used in many different ways in a sentence. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definitions. You can also try making flashcards or quizzes for yourself to test your knowledge and vocabulary. Try using the word entity in a sentence today! Below are a few examples of entity to get you started.

The business partners chose to form separate legal entities just in case something went wrong in the future. They both wanted to retain the rights to their shares of the business and did not want to have to argue in court for what belongs to who.

He entered each individual entity’s name into the database in an organized array so that the advertisement would get presented to them on Facebook individually. 

Jolene thought of herself as her own entity. She didn’t want to be tied down by anyone, family or friends. She never thought of herself as part of a group or society and wanted nothing more than to travel the world alone. 

Overall, the word entity refers to some being in existence or a set of individual elements that are independent or self-contained. This is also a business term. People can choose to model their businesses in a certain entity for tax purposes or other reasons. The word entity is of Indo-European roots.

Sources:

  1. entity: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. IDEA Synonyms: 58 Synonyms & Antonyms for IDEA | Thesaurus 
  3. CONCEPT Synonyms: 28 Synonyms & Antonyms for CONCEPT | Thesaurus 
  4. entity | Origin and meaning of entity | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Entity | Definition of Entity | Merriam-Webster 
  6. What Is a Business Entity? Definition & Examples of a Business Entity | The Balance