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

The more than 40 acre tract of land Mattaliano bought in November 2017, was cleared a few months ago of the dense, lush forest that had offered a semblance of privacy for resort members. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, "Local nudist resort sees influx of new members, faces development challenges," 5 July 2019 Nevertheless, FDR’s and Churchill’s willingness to meet with and form a semblance of a personal relationship with the reprehensible Soviet strongman was a necessary evil to advance the Anglo-American objective of taking Berlin and liberating Europe. Justin D. Shapiro, National Review, "In Defense of Diplomacy with Despots, from 1776 to Today," 2 July 2019 Add that to a team that had already stockpiled Jacob Trouba, Kappo Kakko, Adam Fox and a bounty of talented Russians, and the result is a team, oozing with potential, that can provide MSG with some semblance of excitement. Dan Falkenheim,, "Rangers’ Accelerated Rebuild, Aho’s Offer Sheet Highlight First Day of Free Agency," 1 July 2019 On the large scale, energy dissipates gradually and with a semblance of order. Quanta Magazine, "The Trouble With Turbulence," 28 Jan. 2019 The fans stood for the entire first quarter, stayed loud throughout the contest, and restored a semblance of home-court advantage in a game where the Warriors absolutely needed it. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, "Kurtenbach: Warriors had the championship heart, just not the championship bodies," 13 June 2019 Get our daily newsletter Mr Kosanov’s presence is a departure from tradition: Mr Nazarbayev used to run against supporters of the regime who took part simply to provide a semblance of competition. The Economist, "Kazakhstan’s choreographed election goes off script," 10 June 2019 Yet, unless there is a semblance of security for health workers to work safely at a faster pace, the outbreak is unlikely to abate. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "DR Congo’s Ebola outbreak cases have doubled in just two months crossing the 2,000-mark," 5 June 2019 Within a few tens of millions of years, a geologic blink, the living world expanded into a semblance of its current fullness. Quanta Magazine, "Rapid Oxygen Changes Fueled an Explosion in Ancient Animal Diversity," 9 May 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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Statistics for semblance

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for semblance

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

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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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