Definition of ostensible
- the ostensible purpose for the trip
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the ostensible reason for the meeting turned out to be a trick to get him to the surprise party
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ostensible.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Like its synonyms "apparent" and "seeming," "ostensible" implies a discrepancy between what appears to be and what actually is. "Apparent" suggests appearance to unaided senses that may not be borne out by more rigorous examination ("the apparent cause of the accident"). "Seeming" implies a character in the thing being observed that gives it the appearance of something else ("the seeming simplicity of the story"). "Ostensible," which descends from the Latin word ostendere ("to show"), suggests a discrepancy between a declared or implied aim or reason and the true one.
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