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 Legislation defining pandemics that would appear to eliminate the current coronavirus pandemic from qualifying as an emergency headed to the state House on Monday. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Bloody Sunday plans, defining pandemics, teacher dilemmas: News from around our 50 states," 24 Feb. 2021 Even some staunch progressives are expressing frustration over blue state lockdowns and school closures that don’t appear to follow the science. Washington Examiner Staff, Washington Examiner, "GOP 2024: Who might jump in?," 24 Feb. 2021 With a limited arsenal at his disposal, Popovich is preparing to play combinations that appear drawn out of a hat. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "Ready or not, Spurs' COVID-halted season set to resume," 23 Feb. 2021 That footage showed a person wearing the same clothing as Fischer in photos that appear to have been taken at the Jan. 6 rally. Hannah Knowles, Anchorage Daily News, "Off-duty Pennsylvania officer charged at police during the Capitol riots, FBI says," 21 Feb. 2021 That footage showed a person wearing the same clothing as Fischer in photos that appear to have been taken at the Jan. 6 rally. Washington Post, "‘Front of the pack’: Off-duty Pa. officer charged at police during the Capitol riots, FBI says," 21 Feb. 2021 The teeth come from layers of material that appear to have been deposited at the start of the most recent glacial period, which is when the ancestors of the woolly mammoth population should have been present in the area. John Timmer, Wired, "Million-Year-Old DNA Rewrites Mammoths' Evolutionary Tree," 21 Feb. 2021 And new variants that appear to make the virus more contagious are popping up around the world and across the country. Maggie Fox, CNN, "Is it time to delay second doses of coronavirus vaccines?," 19 Feb. 2021 Health officials say the new coronavirus variants that appear to spread more easily make the distribution of vaccines more urgent. Sarah Krouse, WSJ, "Behind America’s Botched Vaccination Rollout: Fragmented Communication, Misallocated Supply," 18 Feb. 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

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Appear.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 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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