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

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 While recent weather systems brought a semblance of relief to higher elevation areas in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming, the human impact on climate change continues to outpace momentary signs of progress. Sunset Magazine, 12 May 2022 Right now, game workers just want some semblance of stability with Roe v. Wade’s repeal threatening to rock their foundation. Shannon Liao, Washington Post, 11 May 2022 Second, states and the federal government must recommit to providing the services that mental hospitals once offered: shelter, food, clothing and some semblance of social support. Thomas Curwenstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 10 May 2022 Cars have returned to Kyiv’s streets and people living there have resumed some semblance of their normal routines. New York Times, 7 May 2022 It’s also a matter of functional necessity, Fesenko said, to deal with processes like paying pensions and salaries to create a semblance of normal life under Russian control. Yuliya Talmazan, NBC News, 5 May 2022 This could be their last chance to get some semblance of justice. Omar Jimenez, CNN, 2 May 2022 With a lens on the uphill battle to achieve a semblance of peace amidst a global pandemic, a country makes an historic and eager leap towards progress, a new constitution and leader at the fore. Holly Jones, Variety, 30 Apr. 2022 The pathos, tied to the loss of a parent or a loved one, gives the material some semblance of feeling. Michael Phillips,, 10 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Semblance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for semblance


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

More from Merriam-Webster on semblance

Nglish: Translation of semblance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of semblance for Arabic Speakers


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