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.

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 Early data suggests virus particles from COVID variants – including omicron – may appear in the throat before reaching nasal passages where test swabs are done. Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY, 9 Jan. 2022 There’s no audio, but a trio of officers appear to be talking to him for most of the encounter. Michael Ruiz, Fox News, 9 Jan. 2022 Men armed with assault rifles, seemingly organized, have been seen and appear to have fought with the security forces. Patrick Reevell, ABC News, 8 Jan. 2022 Visitors to the courthouse are required to wear masks and those with COVID-19 symptoms should appear remotely to minimize the risk of exposure or infection to others, officials said. Linda Girardi,, 8 Jan. 2022 Website addresses, which appear legitimate, but aren't. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, 7 Jan. 2022 One of the key observations is that people who are exposed to the strain appear to get sick more quickly. Andrew Marquardt, Fortune, 7 Jan. 2022 The brand's options for brightening grays include its Silver Lining Shampoo (which includes antioxidant-rich hops to make hair appear thicker and smoother) and the Butter Hair Mask (whose green coffee extract makes your hair easier to detangle). Jihan Forbes, Allure, 7 Jan. 2022 Imagine walking by a wall and having Mickey Mouse appear to wave and dance in front of you. Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times, 7 Jan. 2022

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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Dictionary Entries Near appear

appeal to the country



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Last Updated

11 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Appear.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for appear



English Language Learners Definition of appear

: to seem to be something : to make someone think that a person or thing has a particular characteristic : look seem
: 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.


intransitive verb

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

More from Merriam-Webster on appear

Nglish: Translation of appear for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of appear for Arabic Speakers


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