The verb exist means to live, to have reality. Dodos no longer exist because they were hunted to extinction.
It's not only "live" things that exist. The government exists, as does your fear of heights. Anything that can be acknowledged in the present, exists. Another meaning for the verb exist is to support oneself or survive. If someone doesn't have a job, they may have to exist on unemployment benefits until they find one.
v have an existence, be extant
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be found or available
exist beforehand or prior to a certain point in time
kick about, kick around, knock about
be around; be alive or active
to exist as an inner activating spirit, force, or principle
hold, obtain, prevail
be valid, applicable, or true
consist, dwell, lie, lie in
endanger, imperil, jeopardise, jeopardize, menace, peril, threaten
pose a threat to; present a danger to
be abundantly present
be distributed or spread, as in statistical analyses
exist or be situated within
coexist peacefully, as of nations
co-occur, coincide, cooccur
go with, fall together