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


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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 Police said his first court appearance will be after he is released from the hospital. Nyssa Kruse, Arkansas Online, "Accused armed robber shot when Arkansas store manager pulls own gun; employee's 7-year-old son was present, police say," 5 Dec. 2019 At his first court appearance Wednesday, Parodi was ordered held in the Broward County jail without bond on charges of lewd and lascivious acts with persons under the age of 12. Wayne K. Roustan,, "Man sexually abused, coerced and threatened girls for seven years, cops say," 4 Dec. 2019 From 1982-92, Yoder coached at Wisconsin, leading the Badgers to their first postseason appearances in over 40 years with the 1989 and 1991 NIT tournament berths. Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame announces 2020 men's induction class," 3 Dec. 2019 Cincinnati football will make its first AAC championship game appearance Saturday at No. Fletcher Page,, "Luke Fickell: 'I don’t know that there is a better place' than Cincinnati," 3 Dec. 2019 Williams' bond is set at $400,000 and his next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 5. Chelsea Hofmann, azcentral, "Suspect faces murder charge in 2014 Tempe home invasion," 27 Nov. 2019 His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 10. Sarah Horner, Twin Cities, "Man charged with pepper-spraying employee at St. Paul violin shop, stealing instruments," 27 Nov. 2019 While Foy was pictured in several photographs in season three, this will be her first appearance in the series since the Olivia Colman took over the role of Queen Elizabeth. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Claire Foy Will Return as Queen Elizabeth in The Crown's Fourth Season," 26 Nov. 2019 Ross’ initial court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 19, according to online court records. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Police removed 117 cats from an Oak Creek home filled with urine and feces. The owner is facing animal abuse charges.," 22 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for appearance

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for appearance

Last Updated

8 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Appearance.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 11 December 2019.

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More Definitions for appearance


How to pronounce appearance (audio)

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

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heavy with or as if with moisture

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