semblance

noun
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

Many have undergone counseling and recaptured a semblance of normalcy. Arian Campo-flores, WSJ, "A Year After Parkland: Making Sure to Say, ‘I Love You’ at Morning Drop-Off," 12 Feb. 2019 As any hair dye devotee who has tried to keep those pesky dark roots at bay and maintain some semblance of color consistency can attest, a successful transition to ice-blonde is a job best left to the professionals. Roberta Gorin-paracka, Teen Vogue, "Lady Gaga's Colorist Patti Song on Achieving Her Signature Blonde Hair," 29 Dec. 2018 Sabrina intends to hold onto her humanity, name, and right to choose, and spends the the rest of the season trying to walk the line between light and darkness while still maintaining some semblance of herself. Anne T. Donahue, Marie Claire, "In 2018, Horror Movies Are the Most Comforting Things I Watch," 19 Nov. 2018 Ultimately, though, the promise of blockchain — putting power in the hands of the many rather than the few and restoring some semblance of trust to a society increasingly devoid of it — seems as good a goal as any for retail to pursue. Hilary George-parkin, Vox, "The technology behind bitcoin is coming for retail, and you probably won’t even notice.," 18 Oct. 2018 In time, car battery insulation left to the desert starts to look like bones, a convincing enough semblance that searchers at one point approached fragments and cautiously turned it over so as not to contaminate any possible DNA. Jason Pohl, azcentral, "From missing to legally dead: The search for Sheriff's Office posse member Sam Grider," 12 Jan. 2018 These transactions can sometimes lack the semblance of official state business, too. Abdullah Shihipar, Teen Vogue, "Lethal Injection Drugs and the Death Penalty, Explained," 30 Oct. 2018 For several happy months, Erika and Judith lived in Prague near Shatz, attending school and returning a semblance of normalcy to their lives. Hannah Natanson, Washington Post, "They survived the Holocaust, and then he rescued her from communism. Sixty-five years later, they’ve reunited.," 9 July 2018 But that doesn't mean some kind of semblance of that player could not be restored within the hallowed realms of Stamford Bridge. SI.com, "Why Chelsea Should Take a Punt on Super Jack Wilshere and Make Him the Golden Boy He Deserves to Be," 22 June 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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Last Updated

21 Mar 2019

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

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More Definitions for semblance

semblance

noun

English Language Learners Definition of semblance

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

semblance

noun
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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