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 From the Archive served a dual purpose: producing interesting stories to appear on our subscriber website — — and digitizing thousands of images previously unavailable online. Bill Van Niekerken,, "Life after disaster: Chronicle’s oldest negatives show a return to normality in 1906," 5 Jan. 2021 Pierce continues to appear with Wendy Rittenhouse on right wing news outlets and to use social media to solicit donations and portray Rittenhouse as the victim of a political prosecution. Bruce Vielmetti, USA TODAY, "Kyle Rittenhouse pleads not guilty to seven charges stemming from Kenosha killings," 5 Jan. 2021 Hunters and the general public are encouraged to be on the lookout for deer that appear sick, lethargic or unusually thin and to report their location to ADCNR. Frank Sargeant, al, "Deer Hunters Alerted to Watch for CWD," 3 Jan. 2021 These common bumps can appear on the face and other parts of the body and are categorized in two groups: closed comedones (more commonly known as whiteheads) and open comedones (blackheads). Jenn Sinrich, SELF, "12 Reasons Why You Might Have Small 'Bumps' on Your Face," 30 Dec. 2020 And many of these friends and acquaintances appear on the podcast to share their experiences of the past year, including filmmaker Tyler Perry, pop superstar Elton John, and tennis pro Naomi Osaka. Liam Hess, Vogue, "5 Things We Learned Listening to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s New Podcast," 30 Dec. 2020 The instructions appear only in type, and as the tension mounts, the background dissolves so that her white face floats in a sea of darkness. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, "Satisfying, Bite-Sized Operas," 28 Dec. 2020 And yet the timing of the incident early Christmas morning and the warning message before the explosion appear to indicate that whoever was behind it was not attempting mass murder. Dakin Andone, CNN, "Here's how officials are likely to handle the investigation of the Nashville explosion," 26 Dec. 2020 Indoor homeless shelters can appear resilient for months — and then suddenly report large outbreaks. New York Times, "Isolation Helps Homeless Population Escape Worst of Virus," 23 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for appear

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for appear

Last Updated

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Appear.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for appear


How to pronounce appear (audio)

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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