Word of the Day : June 28, 2018


adjective ah-STEN-suh-bul


1 : intended for display : open to view

2 : being such in appearance : plausible rather than demonstrably true or real

Did You Know?

Like its synonyms apparent and seeming, ostensible implies a discrepancy between what appears to be and what actually is. Apparent suggests appearance to unaided senses that may not be borne out by more rigorous examination ("the apparent cause of the accident"). Seeming implies a character in the thing being observed that gives it the appearance of something else ("the seeming simplicity of the story"). Ostensible, which descends from the Latin word ostendere ("to show"), suggests a discrepancy between a declared or implied aim or reason and the true one.


The novel's ostensible hero is in the end a villain of epic proportions.

"It's never for the profits or the sheer satisfaction of sticking it to your enemies and putting yourself in the best possible light. No, there's always some ostensible higher cause." — Rich Lowry, The Boston Herald, 18 Apr. 2018

Name That Synonym

Unscramble the letters to create a synonym of ostensible: TIUVPETA.



More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!