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

Comic-Con was expected to be the first public appearance or interview by the Game of Thrones showrunners since the divisive series finale aired in May. No reason was given for the schedule change. James Hibberd,, "Game of Thrones showrunners are not going to Comic-Con after all," 17 July 2019 Following his role in Angels in the Outfield, David went on to make guest appearances on the shows Sister, Sister and 7th Heaven. Katherine Schaffstall, The Hollywood Reporter, "The Stars of 'Angels in the Outfield': Where Are They Now?," 15 July 2019 Erin Krakow, Pascale Hutton, Kavan Smith, Jack Wagner, Paul Greene, and Lori Loughlin all made appearances at the 2018 gathering. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "The “Hearties Family Reunion” is the Ultimate Getaway for When Calls the Heart Fans," 15 July 2019 In 2018, the royal mom of three also made back-to-back appearances at the famed tennis tournament. Stephanie Petit,, "Kate Middleton Returns to Wimbledon (for a Third Time!) for a Daytime Date with Prince William," 14 July 2019 There also will be special appearances from the K-9 Caring Angels and kids from J.R. Miller Martial Arts., "Local families benefit from food donations: Olmsted Dates and Data," 12 July 2019 Could Damon, Elena and Stefan make appearances too?! Alison Caporimo, Seventeen, "Fans Think Caroline Will Finally Star in "Legacies" After This Huge Announcement," 12 July 2019 The Chippewas won the last three Mid-American Conference regular season championships, and made three NCAA tournament appearances in Guevara's tenure. Greg Levinsky, Detroit Free Press, "Central Michigan women's basketball coach Sue Guevara retires," 12 July 2019 In other news from past summers, bugs, hogs, parking meters, dust, flies, and manure have made historic appearances in the city and caused quite a ruckus. Kevin Dayhoff,, "Dayhoff: ‘Westminster and The Recreation Problem’ a recurring theme addressed by local newspapers," 12 July 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

21 Jul 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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