os·​ten·​si·​bly | \ ä-ˈsten(t)-sə-blē How to pronounce ostensibly (audio) \

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 book of that name tells a story ostensibly about food but in reality about the limited effectiveness of corporate paternalism. Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "Facebook’s Id Is Showing," 8 Jan. 2020 Just as there are laws to ostensibly prevent Trump’s threatened war crimes, there are also laws meant to protect Native nations from this kind of looting and desecration. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "America Has Never Cared About Sacred Sites," 8 Jan. 2020 The result is not a garment that ostensibly aims to make individuals look their best. National Geographic, "The idea of beauty is always shifting. Today, it’s more inclusive than ever.," 7 Jan. 2020 That applies even to ostensibly pro-worker programs like the Pledge to American Workers. Brian Barrett, Wired, "Ivanka Trump's Future of Work Isn't for Workers," 7 Jan. 2020 The movie, ostensibly about a family, the Wilsons, hunted by its doppelgängers, is something of an awards contender. Mekado Murphy, New York Times, "Reading ‘Us’ Through Its T-shirts," 1 Jan. 2020 For a series ostensibly about interstellar military conflicts, the Lucasfilm saga boasts more familial drama than a daytime soap. Devan Coggan, EW.com, "Rise of Skywalker's Rey reveal undoes one of Star Wars' boldest choices: Opinion," 21 Dec. 2019 The crisis is ostensibly about fuel and corruption. Wynn Walent, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Haiti in in crisis, again, and yes, we can help," 15 Nov. 2019 Many feel they're being unfairly targeted over a battle that is ostensibly about aircraft manufacturers getting government subsidies and nothing to do with their own businesses. CBS News, "U.S. slaps new tariffs on European wine, whiskey, planes and much more," 18 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for ostensibly

Time Traveler

The first known use of ostensibly was in 1765

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Statistics for ostensibly

Last Updated

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ostensibly.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ostensibly. Accessed 23 January 2020.

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).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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