ap·pear | \ə-ˈpir \
appeared; appearing; appears

Definition of appear 

intransitive verb

1a : 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.

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Examples of appear in a Sentence

She appears a nice enough person. Winning the election appears unlikely at this point. One by one, the stars appeared in the sky. The sun began to appear from behind the clouds. The airplanes seemed to appear out of nowhere. The storm disappeared as suddenly as it had appeared. The cat appears at our kitchen door every morning. One of the guests appeared a few minutes late. He appeared a little before eight last night.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Much of Ireland's sympathies for the Palestinians appear to tie back into their own troubled history with the United Kingdom. Sean Savage, Jewish Journal, "Ireland goes ahead with legislation to boycott products made in Israeli settlements," 12 July 2018 Back in 2016, fans first started noticing the DCOM stars had reconnected when Daniel appeared in Kimberly's hilarious short about what really happened to Kal at the end of Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge. Stacey Grant, Seventeen, "Marnie and Kal from "Halloweentown" Are Apparently a Couple," 12 July 2018 Gradually, businesses appeared to support the people who lived in those homes. Sven Berg, idahostatesman, "A 60-year-old fuel terminal could leave Boise’s Bench. Here’s what could replace it.," 11 July 2018 This story originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of Woman's Day. Tracy Saelinger, Woman's Day, "Gardening Led This Veteran to a New Life of Hope and Healing," 11 July 2018 This week off-peak lane closures from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. will appear in the eastbound lanes between Route 59 and Washington Street for pavement removal and replacement. Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, "Road and ramp repairs on I-88 between Naperville and Oak Brook start this week," 10 July 2018 Last week, Hojabri appeared on Iranian TV and sobbingly admitted that dancing is a crime. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Investing in vapor wares like Juul could be lucrative. But some Silicon Valley VCs draw the line at vice.," 10 July 2018 However, friends and doctors told investigators that Larry appeared to be in good health. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "Woman wanted for grand theft goes missing after her husband dies with lethal levels of Benadryl in his system," 14 July 2018 This magic spray has been around for decades and appears to have incredible restorative abilities. Pete Grathoff, kansascity, "Just what is in that ‘magic spray’ trainers use at the World Cup?," 13 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of appear

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for 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.

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Phrases Related to appear

appear in print

Statistics for appear

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for appear

The first known use of appear was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for appear


ap·pear | \ə-ˈpir \
appeared; appearing

Kids Definition of appear

1 : to come into sight Stars appeared in the sky.

2 : to present oneself appear in court

3 : seem sense 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.


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

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