os·​ten·​si·​bly ä-ˈsten(t)-sə-blē How to pronounce ostensibly (audio)
: in an ostensible manner
: to all outward appearances

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
Recent Examples on the Web The speech is ostensibly about the ongoing United Auto Workers strike, whose members the former president is trying to court, but Trump has a longstanding reputation for lengthy and thematically meandering speeches. Tal Axelrod, ABC News, 27 Sep. 2023 But the attorneys general appear focused on emerging companies trying to sell new solar systems door-to-door rather than those ostensibly servicing systems already in place. Alana Semuels, Time, 26 Sep. 2023 On Monday, Azerbaijani President Aliyev and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held a meeting in Nakhchivan, ostensibly to launch a gas pipeline. Astrig Agopian, The Christian Science Monitor, 26 Sep. 2023 Mi’s team is the first to create silkworms whose excretions are ostensibly identical to spiders’ web material. Andrew Paul, Popular Science, 21 Sep. 2023 Bernie invites them to his beach house, ostensibly as a reward, and asks his mobster partner to kill them. Richard Sandomir, New York Times, 20 Sep. 2023 And that’s ostensibly exactly what Marvel’s provided. Zack Sharf, Variety, 19 Sep. 2023 Don't forget that Apple previously introduced Adaptive EQ for AirPods, which ostensibly measured your ear canal to ensure the balance of the audio is perfect. Joe Hindy, PCMAG, 18 Sep. 2023 During that one week, the event ostensibly becomes Nevada's third-largest city, nicknamed Black Rock City. Kimberley Mok, Treehugger, 8 Sep. 2023 See More

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

Word History


see ostensible

First Known Use

1765, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of ostensibly was in 1765

Dictionary Entries Near ostensibly

Cite this Entry

“Ostensibly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ostensibly. Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


os·​ten·​si·​bly ä-ˈsten(t)-sə-blē How to pronounce ostensibly (audio)
: to all outward appearances : seemingly
a statement ostensibly true

More from Merriam-Webster on ostensibly

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