adjective ap·par·ent \ ə-ˈper-ənt , -ˈpa-rənt \
|Updated on: 8 Aug 2018

Definition of apparent

1 : open to view : visible
  • The changes were readily apparent.
2 : clear or manifest to the understanding
  • for reasons that are apparent
3 : appearing as actual to the eye or mind
  • was in apparent danger
4 : manifest to the senses or mind as real or true on the basis of evidence that may or may not be factually valid
  • died of an apparent heart attack
  • The air of spontaneity is perhaps more apparent than real.
  • —J. R. Sutherland
5 law : having an indefeasible right to succeed to a title or estate


play \-nəs\ noun

Examples of apparent in a Sentence

  1. "Reborn" is overwhelmingly a record of an inner landscape, and so there is little sense of the times—no mention of civil-rights demonstrations, no arguments about Cuba. Sontag barely even let her journal know that she was at work on a novel, although the effects of that undertaking are perhaps apparent in the increasingly aphoristic style of her pages. —Darryl PinckneyNew Yorker22 & 29 Dec. 2008
  2. He believes that the key to memory, despite its apparent complexities, will eventually prove to be simple: a single molecule. He may be right. —Michael GreenbergNew York Review of Books4 Dec. 2008
  3. Since last fall, beekeepers in at least 35 states have reported colonies that shrank rapidly for no apparent reason. Adult bees just go missing, leaving behind young bees in need of tending. —Susan MiliusScience News28 July 2007
  4. The Internal Revenue Service last week suggested that between 1 million and 2 million Americans have overseas bank accounts that issued them credit or debit cards-the apparent purpose being to evade U.S. taxes. —Robert J. SamuelsonNewsweek8 Apr. 2002
  5. From the beginning, it was apparent that she was not an ordinary child.

  6. He started yelling and throwing things for no apparent reason.

  7. We disagreed on the apparent meaning of the movie.

  8. What was the apparent cause of the accident?

Recent Examples of apparent from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apparent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of apparent

Middle English apparaunt, apparent, apperaunt, borrowed from Anglo-French apparaunt, from present participle of aparer, apareir "to be visible, appear"

Synonym Discussion of apparent

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

synonyms see in addition evident

APPARENT Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of apparent for English Language Learners

  • : easy to see or understand

  • : seeming to be true but possibly not true

APPARENT Defined for Kids


adjective ap·par·ent \ ə-ˈper-ənt \

Definition of apparent for Students

1 : clear to the understanding : evident
  • It was apparent that we could not win.
2 : open to view : visible
  • On a clear night many stars are apparent.
3 : appearing to be real or true
  • The apparent theft of my lunch made me angry.



Medical Dictionary


adjective ap·par·ent \ ə-ˈpar-ənt, -ˈper- \

medical Definition of apparent

1 : clear or manifest to the senses
  • no apparent cause for the condition
2 : manifest to the senses or mind as real or true on the basis of evidence that may or may not be valid upon deeper investigation
  • the apparent stimulating action of a sedative drug may actually result from its depressant effect
  • —D. W. Maurer & V. H. Vogel

Law Dictionary


adjective ap·par·ent

legal Definition of apparent

1 : capable of being easily seen, perceived, or discovered
  • apparent defects
  • apparent ambiguity
2 : having a right to succeed to a title or estate that cannot be defeated
3 : appearing to one's senses and especially one's vision or to one's understanding as real or true on the basis of evidence that may or may not be correct or factual
  • an apparent ability to cause injury
  • the apparent scope of the agent's authority



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