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

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 Literature is at least produced by individual authors; but in this case, the Nobel’s reliance on ostensibly expert judgment runs into a different problem. Adam Kirsch, The Atlantic, "Readers Don't Need the Nobel Prize in Literature," 7 May 2018 Over the course of his two-day testimony in Congress, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg repeatedly returned to a few particular points, ones that ostensibly serve to quell the rising privacy concerns in the wake of data leaks by Cambridge Analytica. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "'Your Data' Doesn't Mean What You Think It Means," 11 Apr. 2018 Undeterred, Bethlehem Steel sent submarine parts to an assembling plant in Montreal ostensibly for humanitarian rebuilding efforts—and American steel started leaking into the Allied war effort. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of Steel," 9 July 2018 One of Burton’s most famous images depicts a wide-eyed Carter gazing into Tutankhamun’s burial chamber, ostensibly for the first time. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Rare Photographs Put Focus on Egyptians Who Worked Alongside Carter to Excavate Tutankhamun’s Tomb," 9 July 2018 In March, President Donald Trump fired David Shulkin, the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs, ostensibly for mismanaging public funds. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "Scott Pruitt’s scandals throw David Shulkin’s firing in stark relief.," 7 June 2018 Yet the financial pressures and inherent conflicts of joint ownership made Friday’s decision to withhold Audible from the Belmont (ostensibly for a minor injury) both predictable and regrettable. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Of course Audible scratched. WinStar Farms has too much money at stake," 25 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

21 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for ostensibly

The first known use of ostensibly was in 1765

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Britannica English: Translation of ostensibly for Arabic Speakers

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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