ap·​pear | \ ə-ˈpir How to pronounce appear (audio) \
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 Helen Mirren also reprises her Fast universe role as the mother of a character played by Jason Stratham, who does not appear in this one. Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone, "‘F9’: New ‘Fast & Furious’ Film Drops New Trailer, Sets Release Date," 14 Apr. 2021 The measure would allow elections supervisors to use secure ballot drop boxes at early voting locations, but Earley said the bill does not appear to allow drop boxes at supervisors’ offices. Dara Kam,, "Florida senators hold heated debate on elections restrictions," 14 Apr. 2021 Even William Quigg, who is known as the state leader of the Loyal White Knights faction of the Ku Klux Klan in California, did not appear to be in command Sunday, Levi said. Los Angeles Times, "‘White Lives Matter’ rallies fizzled. Hate groups still see chance to ‘fire up the base’," 14 Apr. 2021 Gallen took batting practice with the club’s group of starting pitchers prior to Monday’s game and did not appear to swing the bat once. Nick Piecoro, The Arizona Republic, "Diamondbacks’ Zac Gallen set to return from injured list; Christian Walker now out," 13 Apr. 2021 The Metropolitan Police Department said earlier this month that the attack didn’t appear to be an act of terrorism. Kristina Peterson, WSJ, "Biden, Lawmakers Pay Tribute to Slain Capitol Hill Officer ‘Billy’ Evans," 13 Apr. 2021 Although the cases have appeared in women of childbearing age, there does not appear to be a link to birth control, Marks said. NBC News, "What to do if you got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine," 13 Apr. 2021 While Funk and Associates did not appear to be represented at the meeting, supplemental materials did include a March letter from R. William Funk expressing his eagerness to conduct the search. al, "USA likely to see presidential finalists in fall," 13 Apr. 2021 Smith said there didn't appear to be a clear reason for excluding those dependents earlier. Hunter Woodall, Star Tribune, "Stimulus package benefits millions of families with adult dependents," 13 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for appear

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for appear

Last Updated

17 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Appear.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for appear



English Language Learners Definition of appear

somewhat formal : to seem to be something : to make someone think that a person or thing has a particular characteristic
: to become visible : to begin to be seen
: to arrive at a place : to show up


ap·​pear | \ ə-ˈpir How to pronounce appear (audio) \
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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