ap·​pear | \ ə-ˈpir How to pronounce appear (audio) \
appeared; appearing; appears

Definition of appear

intransitive verb

1a : to be or come in sight when the sun appears on the horizon
b : to show up He appears promptly at eight each day.
2 : to come formally before an authoritative body must appear in court today
3 : to have an outward aspect : seem She appears (to be) happy enough.
4 : to become evident or manifest There appears to be evidence to the contrary.
5 : to come into public view a performer who first appeared on a television variety show The book appeared in print a few years ago.
6 : to come into existence Hominids appeared late in the evolutionary chain.

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Examples of appear in a Sentence

She appears a nice enough person. Winning the election appears unlikely at this point. One by one, the stars appeared in the sky. The sun began to appear from behind the clouds. The airplanes seemed to appear out of nowhere. The storm disappeared as suddenly as it had appeared. The cat appears at our kitchen door every morning. One of the guests appeared a few minutes late. He appeared a little before eight last night.
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Recent Examples on the Web

And Brooklyn artist Claudia Pearson, whose work has appeared in children’s books and The New Yorker, has done a collection of tea towels available at West Elm that feature her quirky take on maps of cities all over the country. Washington Post, "RIGHT AT HOME: The look of hand-drawn art is hot in decor," 18 Sep. 2019 The image of the missing boy was posted on Twitter alongside a picture of the club's new summer signing, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, following his loan move from Arsenal, while the girl appeared in Chris Smalling's transfer announcement in August. Ben Morse, CNN, "Missing Kenyan children found after AS Roma social media campaign," 17 Sep. 2019 First published in 1985, in the Soviet Union, and appearing now in English for the first time, the book documents the terrible swiftness with which modest pleasures—going to the cinema, relishing a lilac’s bloom—were swept aside by brutality. Patrick Radden Keefe, The New Yorker, "Briefly Noted," 17 Sep. 2019 Machholz posted $100,000 bail and will appear in Rockville Superior Court on Sept. 24. Steven Goode,, "Police: Attack on Rockville High School student was result of ongoing disputes, threats and violence between two groups," 17 Sep. 2019 The judge agreed that Earnest would not need leg and waist chains in court, based on his cooperation with jail and court deputies so far, but the judge denied the request that Earnest appear in civilian clothes. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Evidence in case involving accused Poway synagogue shooter to be laid out in court," 17 Sep. 2019 Per the paper, an elemental analysis of the copper band found on St. Catherines Island off the coast of Georgia pinpointed its origins to copper mines near Lake Superior, where similar copper objects appear in connection with early burials. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Grave Hints at Interaction Between Early Humans Living in Great Lakes, American Southeast," 16 Sep. 2019 Browns defensive backs Denzel Ward and Damarious Randall also appeared in the remake, along with offensive lineman Joel Bitonio. Michael Shapiro,, "Browns Perfectly Recreate 'Friends' Intro, Release Video After Win Over Jets," 16 Sep. 2019 There’s no record of happening young designers like Ossie Clark taking Norell up on his offer, but culottes quickly got into the swing of 1960s youth style and even appeared in Twiggy's fashion line. Vogue, "The Ups and Downs of Culottes," 16 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'appear.' 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 appear

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for appear

Middle English aperen, apperen, borrowed from Anglo-French apier-, aper-, tonic stem of aparer, apareir, aparoir, going back to Latin appārēre "to come into sight, be visible, be evident," from ad- ad- + pārēre "to be visible, be evident, be subject (to), comply (with)," of uncertain origin

Note: Latin pārēre has been compared with a supposed base *peh2-s-, suggested as the source of Avestan pišiiaṇt- "seeing," Armenian hayim "(I) look," Albanian pashë "(I) saw," though the limited nature of the evidence makes such a hypothesis speculative.

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Statistics for appear

Last Updated

12 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for appear

The first known use of appear was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for appear



English Language Learners Definition of appear

somewhat formal : to seem to be something : to make someone think that a person or thing has a particular characteristic
: to become visible : to begin to be seen
: to arrive at a place : to show up


ap·​pear | \ ə-ˈpir How to pronounce appear (audio) \
appeared; appearing

Kids Definition of appear

1 : to come into sight Stars appeared in the sky.
2 : to present oneself appear in court
3 : seem sense 1 The runner in the lead appears to be tired.
4 : to come before the public The book appeared last year.
5 : to come into existence The first dinosaurs appeared around 215 million years ago.

Legal Definition of appear

1 : to present oneself before a person or body having authority: as
a : to present oneself in court as a party to a lawsuit often through the representation of an attorney also : to participate as a party to a lawsuit in a way other than by physical presence (as by mail)
b : to present oneself in court as the attorney for a party to a lawsuit appearing for the defendant
2 : to have an outward look conduct that appears unethical

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More from Merriam-Webster on appear

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with appear

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for appear

Spanish Central: Translation of appear

Nglish: Translation of appear for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of appear for Arabic Speakers

Comments on appear

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


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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