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

intransitive verb

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

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web His articles and car reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Automotive News, Reuters, SAE, Autoblog, InsideEVs,, Car Talk, and other outlets. Sebastian Blanco, Car and Driver, 5 June 2023 His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV. Philip Ellis, Men's Health, 5 June 2023 Headed into Game 2, Love has appeared in 16 playoff games and started 14 this playoffs. Victoria Hernandez, USA TODAY, 5 June 2023 Yes, other teams besides the Celtics appear to have effort issues against the Heat. Gary Washburn,, 5 June 2023 Opponents describe the moves as cruel political stunts that use immigrants as pawns and leave them many miles from family, resources and even the courthouses where they are often expected to appear to plead their cases for asylum. oregonlive, 4 June 2023 Shania McDonald is an interpretive park ranger at the national park and appeared in the show alongside the girls. Jared Quigg, Chicago Tribune, 4 June 2023 Coincidentally, Pascal appeared as a guest on a 2001 episode. Clayton Davis, Variety, 3 June 2023 Even those who oppose the project, often for different reasons, appear to acknowledge that the viaduct is something of a disaster that must be dealt with. Jim Zarroli, New York Times, 3 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'appear.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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.

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near appear

Cite this Entry

“Appear.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


ap·​pear ə-ˈpi(ə)r How to pronounce appear (audio)
: to come into sight : become plain : show
stars appeared in the sky
: to present oneself formally (as to answer a charge)
appear in court
: seem sense 1, look
things are not always as they appear
appears to be tired
: to come before the public
appears on television

Legal Definition


intransitive verb
: to present oneself before a person or body having authority: as
: 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)
: to present oneself in court as the attorney for a party to a lawsuit
appearing for the defendant
: to have an outward look
conduct that appears unethical

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