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 Rose Castorini is a woman trying to maintain honor, tradition, family pride and some semblance of warmth and sanity when everybody’s screwing up or falling apart around her. Michael Phillips,, "Olympia Dukakis remembered: A life in the theater, and then ‘Moonstruck’ made her famous," 2 May 2021 Many parents make rules about cleaning up toys before meals or bedtime to add some semblance of order in a day. Chris Hachey, BGR, "Best Toy Chest," 28 Apr. 2021 From there, however, the redshirt freshman struggled with accuracy at times and Michigan had no running game to support any semblance of a passing game. Chris Hays,, "Joe Milton shoots down Tennessee rumors, says it’s UT or Washington State," 21 Apr. 2021 Chauvin cuffed and walked out of court, a semblance of justice for those who never saw it. Time, "The Derek Chauvin Verdict Is Haunted by the Ghosts of Those Who Found No Justice," 21 Apr. 2021 Maximizing the number of Americans vaccinated in the coming months is critical for the White House, which is aiming to restore a semblance of normalcy around the July Fourth holiday and even more so by the beginning of the next school year., "White House offers new tax credit to help spur COVID-19 vaccinations," 21 Apr. 2021 High school sports returned across Oregon fields and gyms on March 1, giving athletes some semblance of normalcy amid an abnormal year-plus. oregonlive, "Recapping the ‘fall’ season: Highlighting high school volleyball stars," 20 Apr. 2021 Without the raw data, the AI driving system will be getting an incomplete semblance of what issues might be awaiting the self-driving car. Lance Eliot, Forbes, "Bird’s-Eye View To Provide Self-Driving Cars With Some Needed Computational Omnipresence," 19 Apr. 2021 No out-of-county playoffs or end-of-year banquets, yet parents scrambled to make the most of Senior Night, giving our seniors some semblance of normalcy to an anything-but-normal year. Bird Brown,, "Bird Brown: Making it through this unusual sports season should be commended | COMMENTARY," 18 Apr. 2021

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

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Semblance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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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 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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