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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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 Duchess of Sussex made an appearance in North Kensington wearing a burgundy coat with a coordinating dress from Club Monaco and Givenchy ankle boots. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Meghan Markle's Affordable Club Monaco Coat Is on Sale Right Now," 21 Nov. 2018 At Chevron headquarters in San Ramon, Calif., concerns grew that the company was being duped into making an appearance in Venezuelan propaganda, people familiar with the matter said. Bradley Olson, WSJ, "Chevron Stayed in Venezuela Long After Rivals Quit. Then It Had Second Thoughts.," 8 Nov. 2018 Floral space buns also made an appearance again, as seen on Dahyun. Lai Frances, Allure, "A Comprehensive Guide to the Evolution of Twice's Hair and Makeup," 6 Nov. 2018 The show is expected to premiere next year, but no word yet on whether Hugh Grant and Andie Macdowell will make an appearance. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Four Weddings and a Funeral," 29 Oct. 2018 Virgin head Richard Branson even made an appearance at the conference. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The Air Force Is Actually Considering Rocket Launches to Move Cargo Around the Globe," 29 Oct. 2018 The two of them also did not appear at the 2018 Emmy Awards, where Pete Davidson was expected to make an appearance. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson Have Reportedly Broken Up and Called Off Their Engagement," 14 Oct. 2018 Pippa Middleton, the 9-months pregnant sister of Kate Middleton, made an appearance at Princess Eugenie's wedding to Jack Brooksbank at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle today. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Pippa Middleton Arrived 9 Months Pregnant to Princess Eugenie's Wedding," 12 Oct. 2018 Meanwhile, Antifa demonstrators and students also protested when conservative commentator Ben Shapiro made an appearance, costing the school another $600,000. Caleb Parke, Fox News, "UC-Berkeley police were asked not to use student restrooms during Milo protest: officer," 2 Oct. 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

8 Dec 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

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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