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

Synonyms for appearance


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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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Musical guest Kendrick Lamar will be making his third appearance on the show. Jillian Sederholm,, 30 Sep. 2022 But nothing could have prepared the Today show co-host for her daughter’s unfiltered comments about her appearance. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, 29 Sep. 2022 The stainless steel exterior heating base is also easy to clean; simply wipe it down with a damp cloth to maintain its pristine appearance. Adria Greenhauff, Better Homes & Gardens, 29 Sep. 2022 Among the additions is defender Crystal Dunn, who is hoping to make her first appearance since giving birth to a son in mid-May. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, 29 Sep. 2022 Montgomery and the Golden Hurricane are looking to make their third straight bowl appearance following last season's win over Old Dominion in the Myrtle Beach Bowl. Keith Jenkins, The Enquirer, 28 Sep. 2022 As for Tita, blowouts had a grip on her appearance over the span of many decades. Andrea Aliseda, Harper's BAZAAR, 28 Sep. 2022 Newspapers tended to diminish women who ran for office, calling them by their first names and focusing on their appearance rather than their policy platforms. oregonlive, 27 Sep. 2022 Gingrich said, when asked about his appearance at the event. Ashley Parker, Washington Post, 27 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Dictionary Entries Near appearance



appearances to the contrary

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Statistics for appearance

Last Updated

3 Oct 2022

Cite this Entry

“Appearance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for appearance


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



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


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