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

With 300 migrants, mostly families, his shelter was at double its capacity, though still maintaining its tidy appearance. Washington Post, "Mexico’s migrant shelters overwhelmed in crackdown," 20 June 2019 During his 303 appearances for the Gunners, the World Cup winner became an elite attacking midfielder, often carrying the side to respectable finishes and was clearly head and shoulders above his teammates., "The 10 Most Ridiculously Stupid Things Arsenal Have Done in the Past 15 Years," 19 June 2019 Despite their chilling appearance, huntsman spiders are not considered to be dangerous, according to the Australian Museum. Robyn Merrett,, "Massive Huntsman Spider Eats a Possum in Front of Horrified Ski Lodge Guest," 19 June 2019 Ruiz was 1-for-4 with two strikeouts and an error, while shortstop Gabriel Arias singled in his lone plate appearance off the bench. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Minors: Padres first-rounder CJ Abrams fills up box score in pro debut," 19 June 2019 While Gatewood is a redshirt freshman who made his only appearance last season in mop-up duty during the Music City Bowl, Nix is a true freshman who enrolled this spring. Tom Green |,, "Gus Malzahn hopes to identify Auburn’s starting quarterback ‘early in fall camp’," 19 June 2019 The Panthers have made the playoffs just three times in the last 20 years and have won only 47 percent of their games since their most recent postseason appearance in 2016. Christian Simmons,, "Panthers forward Jayce Hawryluk excited to work with new coach Joel Quenneville," 19 June 2019 And the most surprising thing of all has been their return appearance on the current season of The Amazing Race (Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS). Dalton Ross,, "Inside the most radical reality show transformation ever: The redemption of Colin and Christie," 19 June 2019 But LaFleur, by heterosexualizing the Buttigiegs based on their appearance, regressively polices their behavior and infringes on this right. Charles Dunst, The New Republic, "No, the Buttigiegs Are Not Straight," 18 June 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

23 Jun 2019

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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

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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