verb ap·pear \ ə-ˈpir \
|Updated on: 17 Aug 2018

Definition of appear

appeared; appearing; appears
1 a : to be or come in sight
  • when the sun appears on the horizon
b : to show up
  • He appears promptly at eight each day.
2 : to come formally before an authoritative body
  • must appear in court today
3 : to have an outward aspect : seem
  • She appears (to be) happy enough.
4 : to become evident or manifest
  • There appears to be evidence to the contrary.
5 : to come into public view
  • a performer who first appeared on a television variety show
  • The book appeared in print a few years ago.
6 : to come into existence
  • Hominids appeared late in the evolutionary chain.

Examples of appear in a Sentence

  1. She appears a nice enough person.

  2. Winning the election appears unlikely at this point.

  3. One by one, the stars appeared in the sky.

  4. The sun began to appear from behind the clouds.

  5. The airplanes seemed to appear out of nowhere.

  6. The storm disappeared as suddenly as it had appeared.

  7. The cat appears at our kitchen door every morning.

  8. One of the guests appeared a few minutes late.

  9. He appeared a little before eight last night.

Recent Examples of appear from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of appear

Middle English aperen, apperen, borrowed from Anglo-French apier-, aper-, tonic stem of aparer, apareir, aparoir, going back to Latin appārēre "to come into sight, be visible, be evident," from ad- ad- + pārēre "to be visible, be evident, be subject (to), comply (with)," of uncertain origin
Note: Latin pārēre has been compared with a supposed base *peh2-s-, suggested as the source of Avestan pišiiaṇt- "seeing," Armenian hayim "(I) look," Albanian pashë "(I) saw," though the limited nature of the evidence makes such a hypothesis speculative.

APPEAR Defined for Kids


verb ap·pear \ ə-ˈpir \

Definition of appear for Students

appeared; appearing
1 : to come into sight
  • Stars appeared in the sky.
2 : to present oneself
  • appear in court
3 : seem 1
  • The runner in the lead appears to be tired.
4 : to come before the public
  • The book appeared last year.
5 : to come into existence
  • The first dinosaurs appeared around 215 million years ago.

Law Dictionary


intransitive verb ap·pear

legal Definition of appear

1 : to present oneself before a person or body having authority: as
a : to present oneself in court as a party to a lawsuit often through the representation of an attorney; also : to participate as a party to a lawsuit in a way other than by physical presence (as by mail)
b : to present oneself in court as the attorney for a party to a lawsuit
  • appearing for the defendant
2 : to have an outward look
  • conduct that appears unethical

Seen and Heard

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