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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Lawmakers don’t seek an outright ban on single-family dwellings so much as a way to eke out a bit more density—ostensibly making room for residents to work at the new Amazon headquarters. Margaret Rhodes, Fortune, "The Luminaries—Past and Present—Reimagining the Modern Office," 30 Dec. 2019 Although Wray is appointed to a 10-year term, ostensibly to remove him from politics, Trump could fire him. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump lashes out at FBI director, raising alarm among law enforcement officials," 11 Dec. 2019 According to the ex-employee, Scoot employees received invitations to video-chat meetings with a Bird executive and human resources employee, ostensibly to finalize details related to the process of integrating the companies. Mallory Moench, SFChronicle.com, "'Quite a shock': Scoot employees laid off by Bird in SF scooter shake-up," 6 Dec. 2019 Kicker Ryan Santoso was signed early this week, ostensibly to be a kickoff specialist, but Ryan Succop has battled injury all season long. Joel A. Erickson, Indianapolis Star, "20 things to watch in must-win game between Colts and Titans," 30 Nov. 2019 Friends showed up in court that day, ostensibly to watch a discussion over whether Resiles would face the death penalty. Rafael Olmeda, sun-sentinel.com, "She was found slain in bloody bathtub. Now billboard claims murder suspect was framed.," 30 Nov. 2019 First, Denver City Council reduced speed limits on some city streets, ostensibly to protect cyclists from drivers, according to the mayor. Sara Almerri, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: End Denver’s unfair war on car commuters," 18 Nov. 2019 At the same time, the Ground Transportation Center was temporarily relocated to the north end of the terminal, ostensibly to expedite a series of improvements planned for the old location. Susan Glaser, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Hopkins will keep shuttle drop off at north end of terminal; improvements planned," 12 Sep. 2019 That's a good thing, as the roster is still very young and ostensibly still ascending. Stephanie Stradley, Houston Chronicle, "Stephanie Stradley’s Texans-Saints Q&A with Tom Mantzouranis," 6 Sep. 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.

See More

First Known Use of ostensibly

1765, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ostensibly

see ostensible

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ostensibly

Time Traveler for ostensibly

Time Traveler

The first known use of ostensibly was in 1765

See more words from the same year

Statistics for ostensibly

Last Updated

9 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ostensibly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ostensibly. Accessed 19 Feb. 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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!