Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective ostensible contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of ostensible are apparent, illusory, and seeming. While all these words mean "not actually being what appearance indicates," ostensible suggests a discrepancy between an openly declared or naturally implied aim or reason and the true one.

the ostensible reason for their visit

When is it sensible to use apparent instead of ostensible?

The words apparent and ostensible can be used in similar contexts, but apparent suggests appearance to unaided senses that may or may not be borne out by more rigorous examination or greater knowledge.

the apparent cause of the accident

When is illusory a more appropriate choice than ostensible?

Although the words illusory and ostensible have much in common, illusory implies a false impression based on deceptive resemblance or faulty observation, or influenced by emotions that prevent a clear view.

an illusory sense of security

When would seeming be a good substitute for ostensible?

The synonyms seeming and ostensible are sometimes interchangeable, but seeming implies a character in the thing observed that gives it the appearance, sometimes through intent, of something else.

the seeming simplicity of the story

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Cite this Entry

“Ostensible.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/ostensible. Accessed 13 Jun. 2024.

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