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

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Synonyms for appearance


aspect, dress, figure, garb, look, mien, outside, presence, regard [archaic]

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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 same could be said of the title character in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, whose star Rachel Brosnahan made an appearance in a chic white power suit. Keaton Bell, Vogue, "Everyone From Sarah Jessica Parker to Carrie Dragshaw Came Out to Support Madonna at the GLAAD Awards," 8 May 2019 For the first time ever, Mango made an appearance on the Met Gala red carpet. Glamour, "Mango Made a Gown for the Met Gala 2019—and You'll Be Able to Shop It," 6 May 2019 But that doesn’t mean Bird didn’t have any fun while designing the area: Striped patterns, marble, and a warm fireplace all make an appearance in the space, which works as a fun area to entertain as well. Nikhita Mahtani, House Beautiful, "This Bold, Colorful Home is Extra in All the Best Ways," 30 Apr. 2019 Cersei Lannister didn't make an appearance in the Battle of Winterfell during last night's episode of Game of Thrones, but Lena Headey, who plays her on screen, was sure following along. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lena Headey (AKA Cersei Lannister) Praised Arya's Bravery on Game of Thrones and Fans Think It's a Bad Idea," 29 Apr. 2019 Other rumors point out that Snoke supposedly trained another apprentice who could make an appearance in IX. Adam Schubak, Popular Mechanics, "Everything We Know So Far About 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'," 12 Apr. 2019 Avila had never made an appearance above Class A before this season and made one start at Double-A Amarillo before being called up. John Marshall, The Seattle Times, "Padres beat Diamondbacks 7-6 after blowing late lead," 11 Apr. 2019 Certainly there are women who have given up caring about external appearances and are happier. Clinton Kelly, Woman's Day, "Clinton Kelly Says You Shouldn't Have to 'Dress Your Age'," 27 Mar. 2019 The Stark house symbol and loyal companions to the six Stark children, are based on the now-extinct dire wolves of the prehistoric era, but fans are looking to large dog breeds for their similar appearances as pets. Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "Game Of Thrones Wants You To Stop Buying "Direwolf" Dog Breeds," 16 Apr. 2019

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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Statistics for appearance

Last Updated

12 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

somewhat formal : 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 appear (audio) \ 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

What made you want to look up appearance? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something valued as if it were money

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