sem·​blance ˈsem-blən(t)s How to pronounce semblance (audio)
: outward and often specious appearance or show : form
wrapped in a semblance of composureHarry Hervey
: modicum
has been struggling to get some semblance of justice for his peopleBayard Rustin
: a phantasmal form : apparition
: 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 Like whistles, any semblance of 3 is internationally known as a signal for help: three fires, three signal panels, and three logs. Craig Caudill, Field & Stream, 16 Nov. 2023 By Cutting Out The Noise The Bose QuietComfort Bluetooth headphones are a game-changer for anyone seeking a semblance of a quiet office environment. Theresa Johnson, Rolling Stone, 15 Nov. 2023 Seeking any semblance of a spark, coach Tyronn Lue started the second half with a small lineup that played 6-foot-5 Terance Mann in place of starting center Ivica Zubac. Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times, 11 Nov. 2023 Any discord that arose in your friend groups or wider networks this summer should begin to cohere into some semblance of harmony again. Steph Koyfman, Condé Nast Traveler, 28 Aug. 2023 Because plant proteins behave so differently from milk proteins, manufacturers rely on coconut oil, starch, or gums as hardening agents and then add colors and flavors that give the finished product some semblance of cheese. Elizabeth Rayne, Ars Technica, 14 Oct. 2023 The criteria for their gig include camera-ready affect, demographically checked good looks or youth (interchangeable with some semblance of maturity), and partisan allegiance. Armond White, National Review, 13 Oct. 2023 As does any semblance of peace within the Cardin family. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 27 Sep. 2023 His experience has to be filtered enough to be digestible to the white audience and his portrayal must be docile to the point of absurdity, so that the audience can ascribe their own aspirations onto him and see some semblance of his humanity. Gerald Nesmith, Essence, 1 Sep. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English semblance, semblaunce "outward appearance, mere appearance, show, facial expression, likeness," borrowed from Anglo-French, "likeness, form, demeanor, resemblance," from sembler "to resemble, seem, appear" (going back to Latin simulāre, similāre "to pretend, assume the appearance of by one's conduct, imitate") + -ance, -aunce -ance — more at simulate

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near semblance

Cite this Entry

“Semblance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


sem·​blance ˈsem-blən(t)s How to pronounce semblance (audio)
: outward and often misleading appearance or show
: one that resembles another : likeness, image

More from Merriam-Webster on semblance

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