ap·pear·ance | \ ə-ˈpir-ən(t)s \

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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The first lady’s appearance came amid her return to the international stage after she was hospitalized in May for a kidney surgery and dropped out of sight for nearly a month. Sylvia Hui,, "Melania Trump dutifully tries her hand at lawn bowling," 13 July 2018 Gilles Mendel, the designer behind J. Mendel, dressed former First Lady Michelle Obama for state dinners, as well, and has an extensive celebrity record from red carpet appearances. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Melania Trump Wears Yellow J.Mendel Gown to State Dinner in England," 13 July 2018 Take, for example, Thursday’s ninth-inning at-bat, one of four plate appearances this week. Jeff Sanders,, "Padres' Franmil Reyes savoring teachable moments," 13 July 2018 David’s first appearance post-breakup was via an Instagram photo that gave a cheeky nod to the fact that her ex boyfriend had just started dating one of the most famous pop stars in the world. Kathryn Lindsay,, "Why Be Engaged When You Can Be An Ex?," 13 July 2018 The bearded dude will be there from 9 to 10:30 a.m. for a Christmas in July appearance, the city said. Ben Brasch, ajc, "Santa will be on the Marietta Square sweating it up on Saturday," 12 July 2018 This run is Thumbscrew’s first appearance at the Village Vanguard. 212-255-4037, MAREIKE WIENING at the Cell (July 14, 8 p.m.). New York Times, "14 Pop, Rock and Jazz Concerts to Check Out in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 12 July 2018 The first was when Meghan joined the whole family for a Christmas Day service in 2017, and shortly after were the Fab Four’s first appearance at the Royal Foundation Forum in February and Commonwealth Day celebrations in March. Maura Hohman,, "Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton Are Going on Their First Solo Outing Together!," 12 July 2018 For all of Jornet’s impressive performances, my record-scratch moment was his appearance in a 2013 documentary about steep skiing called T’es Pas Bien Là? Nick Heil, Outside Online, "Are Kilian Jornet's Speed Records Too Good to Be True?," 12 July 2018

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.

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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"

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Last Updated

18 Aug 2018

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Time Traveler for appearance

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

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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 \

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 \

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 \ intransitive verb

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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

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Comments on appearance

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a magnificent or impressive array

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