\ ˈsēm How to pronounce seem (audio) \
seemed; seeming; seems

Definition of seem

intransitive verb

1 : to appear to the observation or understanding
2 : to give the impression of being

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Examples of seem in a Sentence

What they're doing doesn't seem right to me. I tried to cheer them up because they seemed depressed.
Recent Examples on the Web The measure now moves to the upper house, the Rajya Sabha, where Modi seems to have enough allies that most analysts predict it will soon become law., "HYDERABAD, India — India took a major step toward the official marginalization of Muslims on Tuesday as one house of Parliament passed a bill that would establish a religious test for migrants who want to become citizens, solidifying Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist agenda.," 11 Dec. 2019 The primary avatars -- Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black -- seem to be having an awfully good time with all this silliness, which is mildly infectious, even when the movie sags. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Jumanji: The Next Level' repeats the program, with a few welcome wrinkles," 10 Dec. 2019 In the 1980s, geneticists noted that type B viruses seemed to have split into two distinct, evolutionary lineages based on studying their Has. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Unusual type of flu virus is dominating early start to this year’s flu season," 10 Dec. 2019 This seems to be the first Russian anthology ever published that does not affect one with the feeling of intense irritation. Jennifer Wilson, The New Republic, "Vladimir Nabokov’s Fighting Spirit," 10 Dec. 2019 There seem to be a lot of people double-fisting with an e-cigarette in one hand and their phone in the other. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "The D.C. Lawmaker Going Toe to Toe With Big Vape Never Planned to Be in This Fight," 10 Dec. 2019 The number of people may be small, but their compassion seems to be great. Kelly Barrett, National Geographic, "10 acts of kindness by strangers around the world," 9 Dec. 2019 Surely disappointing more than a few fans, this seems to be 100 percent accurate. Wired, "Cantina Talk: No, Finn and Poe Aren’t Dating, Sorry," 9 Dec. 2019 But Trump seemed not to have a clue or a care as to what NATO should actually do in the future. Trudy Rubin, Twin Cities, "Trudy Rubin: Why the laughter at Trump at the NATO conference wasn’t funny," 6 Dec. 2019

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for seem

Middle English semen to appear to be, be fitting, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse sœma to honor, sœmr fitting, samr same — more at same

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Time Traveler for seem

Time Traveler

The first known use of seem was in the 13th century

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Cite this Entry

“Seem.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for seem


How to pronounce seem (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of seem

: to appear to be something or to do something : to have a quality, appearance, etc., that shows or suggests a particular characteristic, feeling, etc.
used with it to make a statement about what appears to be true based on what is known
used to make a statement less definite or more polite followed by to + verb often used in negative statements


\ ˈsēm How to pronounce seem (audio) \
seemed; seeming

Kids Definition of seem

1 : to give the impression of being : appear They certainly seemed pleased.
2 used to make a statement less forceful or more politeI can't seem to recall where we met.

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More from Merriam-Webster on seem

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for seem

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with seem

Spanish Central: Translation of seem

Nglish: Translation of seem for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of seem for Arabic Speakers

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