sem·​blance | \ ˈsem-blən(t)s How to pronounce semblance (audio) \

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
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 Having any semblance of a season is still the goal, Engelbert said. Los Angeles Times, "WNBA continues to make progress in a crowded sports landscape," 28 Apr. 2020 The most obvious of these changes are occurring in the midst of the outbreak as tens of millions of people struggle to keep up some semblance of their old routines. Peter Grier, The Christian Science Monitor, "How coronavirus will change the US, from where we live to the way we connect," 28 Apr. 2020 The essential workers who’ve perished while keeping some semblance of normalcy for the rest of us. Sean Gregory, Time, "My Uncle Battled Mental Illness Before Coronavirus. Hopefully His Death Reminds Us to Honor the Overlooked," 13 Apr. 2020 Most candidates for office already have a semblance of mail-in ballot campaigns and strategies. Allie Morris, Dallas News, "Coronavirus fear expected to boost mail-in voting in runoff, general elections," 3 Apr. 2020 A few weeks ago, Uyl was willing to go into June to finish the winter sports championships and into July to allow spring sports to have some semblance of a regular season and tournaments. Mick Mccabe, Detroit Free Press, "Mick McCabe: What's left of Michigan's high school sports season is doomed," 2 Apr. 2020 One parent already had a semblance of a climbing wall in her home, where Team Aiguille occasionally brought small groups to practice. Stephen Ruiz,, "After Aiguille Rock Climbing Center closed, Seminole parent opened home to youth climbers," 10 Sep. 2019 In the event e-commerce doesn’t pay off for Jumia as losses continue to mount, its management appears to already have a semblance of a strategic pivot in place. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Jumia wants to spin off its payments business as it struggles to stem mounting losses," 22 Aug. 2019 The announcement comes as OHSU Hospital nears having a semblance of its heart transplant program operational by August., "OHSU says burnout, staffing shortage led to heart transplant program closure," 28 June 2019

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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Time Traveler for semblance

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for semblance

Last Updated

15 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Semblance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for semblance


How to pronounce semblance (audio)

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 How to pronounce semblance (audio) \

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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