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An entity is something that has a distinct, separate existence, though it need not be a material existence. In particular, abstractions and legal fictions are usually regarded as entities. In general, there is also no presumption that an entity is animate. Entities are used in system developments as models that display communications and internal processing of say documents compared to order processing An entity could be viewed as a set containing subsets. In philosophy, such sets are said to be abstract objects.

The word entity is often useful when one wants to refer to something that could be a human being, a non-human animal, a non-thinking life-form such as a plant or fungus, a lifeless object, or even a belief; for instance. In this way, entity could be seen as a ""catch all""-word.

Sometimes, the word entity is used in a general sense of a being, whether or not the referent has material existence; e.g., is often referred to as an entity with no corporeal form, such as a language. Taken further, entity sometimes refers to existence or being itself. For example, the former U.S. diplomat George F. Kennan said once that ""the policy of the government of the United States is to seek . . . to preserve Chinese territorial and administrative entity.""

In law, an entity is something capable of bearing legal rights and obligations. It generally means ""legal entity"" or ""artificial person"" but also includes ""natural person"".
-- Wikipedia contributors, ""Entity,"" Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Entity&oldid=91820777 (accessed January 1, 2007).