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seem·​ing ˈsē-miŋ How to pronounce seeming (audio)
: external appearance as distinguished from true character : look


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: outwardly or superficially evident but not true or real
the seeming immortality of our heroes
Choose the Right Synonym for seeming

apparent, illusory, seeming, ostensible mean not actually being what appearance indicates.

apparent suggests appearance to unaided senses that may or may not be borne out by more rigorous examination or greater knowledge.

the apparent cause of the accident

illusory implies a false impression based on deceptive resemblance or faulty observation, or influenced by emotions that prevent a clear view.

an illusory sense of security

seeming implies a character in the thing observed that gives it the appearance, sometimes through intent, of something else.

the seeming simplicity of the story

ostensible suggests a discrepancy between an openly declared or naturally implied aim or reason and the true one.

the ostensible reason for their visit

Examples of seeming in a Sentence

Noun her altruism is all seeming—she cares only about herself Adjective Parents discussed the teacher's seeming lack of interest in the students. I was fooled by the seeming simplicity of the instructions.
Recent Examples on the Web
But the solid subtext to Anthony C. Winkler’s script and the ability of director Charles Burnett to see Winkler’s seeming crazies steadfastly as real people first of all allows Lynn Redgrave, James Earl Jones and Margot Kidder to soar. Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times, 5 Apr. 2024 There is some logic to Samsung’s seeming generosity: the company might charge for these features in the future. Janhoi McGregor, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024 Some Republicans have struggled to address the ruling or haven’t commented at all, with some seeming confused by the facts of the case, while Democrats have sought to link it to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, a decision widely supported by the GOP. Sara Dorn, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 The clip, in which the Brady children contract and recover from measles with little fanfare or seeming concern from their sitcom parents, went so viral in 2019 that a former star from the show spoke out against it. Brandy Zadrozny, NBC News, 5 Feb. 2024 To these seeming conundrums Mian offers several plausible explanations. Elizabeth Barber, Harper's Magazine, 2 Feb. 2024 The summit was hosted by Joel Makower, a business sustainability expert and journalist whose depth of knowledge on the subject was matched by a thoughtful, often funny demeanor that brought levity to an often very existential seeming problem. Katie Bain, Billboard, 9 Feb. 2024 There are some caveats to this seeming flop—for one thing, every cellular generation tends to go through some growing pains as new capacity is first built out (and performs well) and then used by more people (generally dragging speeds back down due to network congestion). IEEE Spectrum, 29 Dec. 2023 In Israel and Gaza, the scale of death overwhelms the living Oct. 16, 2023 The footage of Louk’s body being displayed in the streets of Gaza as a seeming trophy, spat upon by at least one onlooker, was one of the first atrocity clips to circulate widely in the wake of the festival massacre. Laura King, Los Angeles Times, 30 Oct. 2023
Single digit morning temperatures, windchills below zero and the seeming constant hum of a furnace working overtime to keep indoors temperatures livable. Karl Ebert, Journal Sentinel, 31 Jan. 2023 That said, overall investment in healthcare is really just back to 2019 levels, a seeming regression to the mean after the pandemic spurred investment capital into areas like drug development, telehealth and other parts of the healthcare industry. Alex Knapp, Forbes, 25 Jan. 2023 Experts in both Taiwan and the United States, though, have long expressed worries about a seeming complacency in Taiwan regarding defense. Eryk Michael Smith, Fox News, 9 Jan. 2023 By the beginning of 2022 Omicron had become the dominant strain in the U.S., its seeming boundless infectiousness surpassing that of all previous variants. Amanda Montañez, Scientific American, 14 Dec. 2022 In a post-game press conference Wednesday night, the 37-year-old NBA superstar, who has been increasingly vocal in recent years regarding racial inequity, spoke out about a seeming double standard regarding two recent sports-world controversies. Anna Lazarus Caplan, Peoplemag, 1 Dec. 2022 In another, a man driving next to a woman shows off his gun in a seeming attempt at intimidating flirtation. Mike Ives, New York Times, 9 Oct. 2022 Video shared on social media shows a man wearing khaki pants, a sports jacket, black gloves and a flat cap, in a seeming attempt to blend in, carrying out the break-in as others, similarly dressed, at least one armed, stand guard. Claire Parker, Washington Post, 28 June 2022 Consider mural dyslexia, the seeming inability to read the writing on the wall. WSJ, 18 Nov. 2022

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

Word History

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined above


circa 1557, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of seeming was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near seeming




Cite this Entry

“Seeming.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: appearing to be real or true : apparent
suspicious of their seeming enthusiasm
seemingly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on seeming

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