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

Archie made a surprise appearance in the arms of Meghan at dad Prince Harry and uncle Prince William‘s charity polo match last month — a sign that the royal couple will strive to give their son a normal childhood despite his royal status. Simon Perry,, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Son Archie Is a 'Happy Baby' with 'Tufts of Reddish Hair'," 15 Aug. 2019 In the summer of 2018, Rob Green was released by Huddersfield Town after failing to make a single appearance for the struggling Terriers., "7 Goalkeepers Who Somehow Landed Massive Transfers at the End of Their Career," 14 Aug. 2019 The Brandeis University commit added 180 digs to lead Wyoming to a conference championship and a district title game appearance. Shelby Dermer,, "Who's among the 2019 All-Enquirer Ohio preseason volleyball team?," 14 Aug. 2019 Ed Sheeran once made a guest appearance in a scene opposite Archie. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "KJ Apa's Net Worth Is So High Hiram Lodge Would Be Intimidated," 13 Aug. 2019 Schilling is an outspoken Trump supporter and made a recent campaign appearance for Brandon Martin, a Republican running in a Tucson-area district against Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "Trump cheers Curt Schilling's possible run for Congress in Arizona," 13 Aug. 2019 In fact, Siddal makes a brief appearance in these chapters, too. Ron Charles, Dallas News, "'The Doll Factory' is a page-turning Victorian thriller," 13 Aug. 2019 With a fourth-year starter in Lindsay at quarterback and a Kent State commit in Washington anchoring the line, STVM has the talent for a 10th playoff appearance in 11 years. Matt Goul,, "Defensive front could spur St. Vincent-St. Mary: 2019 football camp tour," 11 Aug. 2019 There’s no focus on the mononymous institutions — Harvard, Stanford, Yale (although Amherst makes a brief appearance) — that contain a tiny minority of students but receive an overwhelming amount of press coverage. James P. Sutton, National Review, "Fixing the College-Dropout Problem," 9 Aug. 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

18 Aug 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).


a usually brief trip or an expedition

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