ap·​pear·​ance | \ ə-ˈpir-ən(t)s How to pronounce appearance (audio) \

Definition of appearance

1a : external show : semblance Although hostile, he preserved an appearance of neutrality.
b : outward aspect : look had a fierce appearance
c appearances plural : outward indication trying to keep up appearances
2a : a sense impression or aspect of a thing The blue of distant hills is only an appearance.
b : the world of sensible phenomena
3a : the act, action, or process of appearing the first appearance of that word in English
b law : the presentation of oneself in court as a party to an action often through the representation of an attorney
4a : something that appears : phenomenon
b : an instance of appearing : occurrence her first public appearance since winning the award

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for appearance


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of appearance in a Sentence

The general appearance of the house is quite good. The museum restored the painting to its original appearance. lotions that improve your skin's appearance and texture You shouldn't judge a man by his appearance. Have you noticed any changes in her appearance? He appears to be happy, but appearances can be deceptive. Their expensive home created a false appearance of success and happiness.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Apple’s relationship with phone networks around the world is highly integrated—look no further than the appearance of Verizon at the iPhone 12 launch to talk about 5G—so to wreck that relationship would be tricky. David Phelan, Forbes, 5 Sep. 2021 Racial diversity can function as a cloaking device, concealing the most powerful forms of White supremacy while giving the appearance of racial progress. John Blake, CNN, 4 Sep. 2021 Also interesting is the appearance of Ruffalo — as Bruce Banner! Devan Coggan,, 3 Sep. 2021 The resin material is lightweight but gives the appearance of concrete in a classic gray color, as well as black or espresso. Adrienne Jordan, Better Homes & Gardens, 1 Sep. 2021 Brentt shared his own message on Instagram (his page has since been deleted) soon after the appearance at the lounge. Essence, 1 Sep. 2021 The Morning Star alternates points of view among nine Norwegians who find the mundanities of their lives interrupted by the appearance of an eerie new star that casts a twilight over the earth. Torrey Peters, Vulture, 31 Aug. 2021 Doctors use the term ‘lichenification’ to describe the bark-like appearance of this skin. Cassie Shortsleeve, Good Housekeeping, 30 Aug. 2021 Backlash grows with the appearance of Marilyn Manson and DaBaby West’s provocative choice to include Manson and DaBaby—not only bringing them on stage at the listening party but also featuring them as collaborators on Donda—has prompted criticism. Cady Lang, Time, 30 Aug. 2021

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

See More

First Known Use of appearance

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for appearance

re-formation (after appear) of Middle English apparence, aparaunce, borrowed from Anglo-French apparaunce, apparence, borrowed from Late Latin appārentia, noun derivative of Latin appārent-, appārens, present participle of appārēre "to be visible, appear"

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About appearance

Time Traveler for appearance

Time Traveler

The first known use of appearance was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near appearance



appearances to the contrary

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for appearance

Last Updated

9 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Appearance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for appearance



English Language Learners Definition of appearance

: the way that someone or something looks
: a way of looking that is not true or real
: the action of appearing : the fact that something or someone arrives or begins to be seen


ap·​pear·​ance | \ ə-ˈpir-əns How to pronounce appearance (audio) \

Kids Definition of appearance

1 : the way something looks The room has a cool appearance.
2 : the act or an instance of appearing His sudden appearance startled us.


ap·​pear·​ance | \ ə-ˈpir-ən(t)s How to pronounce appearance (audio) \

Medical Definition of appearance

1 : the action or process of becoming evident to the senses the sudden appearance of a rash on the body
2 : the outward or visible aspect of something a tumor with a spongy appearance

Other Words from appearance

appear \ ə-​ˈpi(ə)r How to pronounce appearance (audio) \ intransitive verb

Keep scrolling for more



Legal Definition of appearance

1 : the presentation of oneself in court as a party to or as an attorney for a party to a lawsuit also : a document filed in court by an attorney declaring his or her representation of a party to a lawsuit — see also general appearance, special appearance
2 : outward look a lawyer should avoid the appearance of impropriety

More from Merriam-Webster on appearance

Nglish: Translation of appearance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of appearance for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about appearance


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!