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 Your Currently Playing tag will appear at the top of the list, with everything else relegated to the secondary categories below. Whitson Gordon, Wired, "How to Get Through Your Overflowing Game Library," 8 Oct. 2020 Two Islamic State militants linked to the beheadings of American and British hostages are in FBI custody and will appear later Wednesday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, for prosecution, the Justice Department said. Chris Strohm,, "U.S. Moves to Prosecute Islamic State Militants Linked to Beheadings," 7 Oct. 2020 When the person at Company A sends the DM request to the worker at Company B, a new chat will appear that’s hosted on the Slack account of Company B. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "Slack keeps up with the coronavirus pandemic through new updates like corporate DMs," 7 Oct. 2020 His name will also appear in the final notice, to be published Oct. 25. Arkansas Online, "Clerk’s offices busy as deadline reached," 6 Oct. 2020 Still, militia members will almost certainly appear at some polling places this election cycle. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "Georgetown created fact sheets on illegal militias at the polls and what to do if you spot them," 6 Oct. 2020 The court will be lined and covered with custom logos; Philip's basketball jersey number, 33, will appear at center court. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Philip's Supreme Court': A Bayside Middle School student who died in a car accident will be honored with a basketball court," 6 Oct. 2020 Rising 9-year-old musical artist Madison Taylor Baez will also appear in the series, playing Selena in her childhood years. Jeremy Hallock, Dallas News, "‘Selena: The Series’ from Netflix gets glamorous teaser video, official release date," 6 Oct. 2020 The fatality will likely appear in the state’s official tally sometime later this week. oregonlive, "Coronavirus in Oregon: no deaths, 288 cases; daily average at highest point in nearly 2 months," 5 Oct. 2020

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

13 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Appear.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for appear


How to pronounce appear (audio)

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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