adjective os·ten·si·ble \ä-ˈsten(t)-sə-bəl, ə-\

: seeming or said to be true or real but very possibly not true or real

Full Definition of OSTENSIBLE

:  intended for display :  open to view
:  being such in appearance :  plausible rather than demonstrably true or real <the ostensible purpose for the trip>

Examples of OSTENSIBLE

  1. <the ostensible reason for the meeting turned out to be a trick to get him to the surprise party>
  2. That intelligence and those facts, of course, all pertained to Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, the war's ostensible casus belli, which we now know did not exist. —Frank Rich, New York Review, 6 Apr. 2006


French, from Latin ostensus, past participle of ostendere to show, from obs-, ob- in the way + tendere to stretch — more at ob-, thin
First Known Use: circa 1771

Synonym Discussion of OSTENSIBLE

apparent, illusory, seeming, ostensible mean not actually being what appearance indicates. apparent suggests appearance to unaided senses that may or may not be borne out by more rigorous examination or greater knowledge <the apparent cause of the accident>. illusory implies a false impression based on deceptive resemblance or faulty observation, or influenced by emotions that prevent a clear view <an illusory sense of security>. seeming implies a character in the thing observed that gives it the appearance, sometimes through intent, of something else <the seeming simplicity of the story>. ostensible suggests a discrepancy between an openly declared or naturally implied aim or reason and the true one <the ostensible reason for their visit>.

Rhymes with OSTENSIBLE

OSTENSIBLE Defined for Kids


adjective os·ten·si·ble \ä-ˈsten-sə-bəl\

Definition of OSTENSIBLE for Kids

:  seeming to be true :  apparent <The ostensible reason for the call was to chat, but then he asked for money.>
os·ten·si·bly \-blē\ adverb


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