os·​ten·​si·​bly | \ä-ˈsten(t)-sə-blē \

Definition of ostensibly 

1 : in an ostensible manner

2 : to all outward appearances

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Examples of ostensibly in a Sentence

The god of cleanliness is never satisfied. In America, the ostensibly egalitarian nature of society meant that cleanliness was used to mark status. — Joanna Bourke, Harper's, April 2008 Budweiser and Miller, on the other hand, have eroded their credibility by launching brands ostensibly produced by microbreweries. They've been found out, with resulting customer cynicism. — James R. Rosenfield, Demographics, December 1997 The day after Clinton made his seemingly proactive statement, he met with congressional leaders of both parties, ostensibly to press the case for military intervention. — Michael Kelly, New Yorker, 19 Dec.1994 ostensibly a university student studying abroad, he was actually an espionage agent
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Recent Examples on the Web

The gang is in constantly in need of money and resources, which fits pretty well with a game that’s ostensibly about committing a lot of crimes. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Red Dead Redemption 2 is the most convincing open-world game ever made," 25 Oct. 2018 So is scheduling an ostensibly professional meeting in a hotel room and creating an atmosphere of intimidation and fear. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Men, Step Up in Today’s Sexual Upheaval," 25 Sep. 2018 Many are students working on the side or blue-collar workers in a program that ostensibly is meant to train people from developing nations but operates in practice as a source of low-wage labor. Peter Landers, WSJ, "One of the Least Immigrant-Friendly Nations Now Wants Them Long Term," 12 Oct. 2018 Two military coups ostensibly meant to stop the killing, one in 1971 and one in 1980, were perceived by some to be supported by the United States. Suzy Hansen, The New Republic, "“What Difference Is Trump for Us?”," 24 Apr. 2018 There’s a smug complacency with which these movies preach a message ostensibly meant to set the world passionately ablaze. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "A Christian critic wrestles with new biblical films and the hope of a better 'faith-based' cinema," 30 Mar. 2018 That means more time — ostensibly — to sit at home and watch Netflix. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "Everything Coming To Netflix In June," 23 May 2018 That provision allows the US to put tariffs on steel and aluminum imports ostensibly for the purposes of protecting the nation’s domestic manufacturing base and ensuring the country is ready to produce equipment needed for war. Zeeshan Aleem, Vox, "Trump is single-handedly trying to blow up international trade," 2 July 2018 The sequence is apt in a literary sense: the lives and deaths of children is a constant theme of the Scottish tragedy, as is Lady Macbeth's desire to become a man and, failing that, to play out her ostensibly masculine ambitions through her husband. Tony Adler, Chicago Reader, "Aaron Posner and Teller’s Macbeth is no Tempest," 9 May 2018

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

1765, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ostensibly

see ostensible

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Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for ostensibly

The first known use of ostensibly was in 1765

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More from Merriam-Webster on ostensibly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ostensibly

Britannica English: Translation of ostensibly for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ostensibly

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


living or existing for a long time

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