sem·blance | \ˈsem-blən(t)s \

Definition of semblance 

1a : outward and often specious appearance or show : form wrapped in a semblance of composure— Harry Hervey

b : modicum has been struggling to get some semblance of justice for his people— Bayard Rustin

3a : a phantasmal form : apparition

b : image, likeness

4 : actual or apparent resemblance her story bears some semblance to the truth

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Examples of semblance in a Sentence

tried to project some semblance of confidence even though public speaking terrified her a used-car dealer with only a semblance of honesty

Recent Examples on the Web

Critics say the Warriors have destroyed any semblance of NBA competitive balance, like a bear entering the Nathan’s hot-dog-eating contest. Scott Ostler,, "With ‘Boogie,’ Warriors shoot into ‘death zone’," 9 July 2018 There were sparks and smoke, billowing up and out of Daytona International Speedway, taking with them any semblance of normalcy from an always irregular race. Brendan Marks, charlotteobserver, "NASCAR: Controversial Daytona race ends with Erik Jones' first-ever win in double OT," 7 July 2018 There were no offensive sets or any semblance of organization. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "Ugly sequence sums up what is wrong with LaVar Ball's JBA league," 26 June 2018 His patience would be sorely tested, however, as Rossi struggled to find any semblance of form., "World Cup Countdown: 9 Days to Go - What if Paolo Rossi Had Still Been Banned?," 5 June 2018 Plus, my skin felt petal-soft without any visible or palpable semblance of residue. Sophie Wirt, Allure, "Kate Somerville Launches Cold Cream Moisturizing Cleanser + Makeup Remover, and Now I'm a Cold Cream Convert," 9 Apr. 2018 Defensive line coach Larry Johnson wants to keep some semblance of a rotation at end, even if there's a clear gap between Bosa and the rest of the group. Bill Landis,, "Nick Bosa's last Ohio State spring: No, he hasn't already declared for the NFL like Ed Oliver," 9 Mar. 2018 My last semblance of fandom rested with them, and thus, for years, playoff pain ensued. Josh Land,, "First Stanley Cup means long-suffering Capitals fans need not suffer any longer," 8 June 2018 Afghan forces remain riddled with corruption and heavily reliant upon American intelligence and firepower to maintain a semblance of control of their country. W.j. Hennigan, Time, "Trump's Pick to Oversee Afghanistan Could Signal a New Approach," 23 May 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for semblance

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from sembler to be like, seem — more at resemble

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Statistics for semblance

Last Updated

3 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for semblance

The first known use of semblance was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for semblance



English Language Learners Definition of semblance

: the state of being somewhat like something but not truly or fully the same thing


sem·blance | \ˈsem-bləns \

Kids Definition of semblance

: outward appearance Everyone was rushing around with tools and wood and there was the semblance of a house emerging …— Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy

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Comments on semblance

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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