ap·​par·​ent ə-ˈper-ənt How to pronounce apparent (audio)
: open to view : visible
The changes were readily apparent.
: clear or manifest to the understanding
for reasons that are apparent
: appearing as actual to the eye or mind
was in apparent danger
: manifest to the senses or mind as real or true on the basis of evidence that may or may not be factually valid
died of an apparent heart attack
The air of spontaneity is perhaps more apparent than real.J. R. Sutherland
law : having an indefeasible right to succeed to a title or estate
ə-ˈper-ənt-nəs How to pronounce apparent (audio)
Choose the Right Synonym for apparent

apparent, illusory, seeming, ostensible mean not actually being what appearance indicates.

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

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

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

ostensible suggests a discrepancy between an openly declared or naturally implied aim or reason and the true one.

the ostensible reason for their visit

synonyms see in addition evident

Examples of apparent in a Sentence

"Reborn" is overwhelmingly a record of an inner landscape, and so there is little sense of the times—no mention of civil-rights demonstrations, no arguments about Cuba. Sontag barely even let her journal know that she was at work on a novel, although the effects of that undertaking are perhaps apparent in the increasingly aphoristic style of her pages. Darryl Pinckney, New Yorker, 22 & 29 Dec. 2008
He believes that the key to memory, despite its apparent complexities, will eventually prove to be simple: a single molecule. He may be right. Michael Greenberg, New York Review of Books, 4 Dec. 2008
Since last fall, beekeepers in at least 35 states have reported colonies that shrank rapidly for no apparent reason. Adult bees just go missing, leaving behind young bees in need of tending. Susan Milius, Science News, 28 July 2007
The Internal Revenue Service last week suggested that between 1 million and 2 million Americans have overseas bank accounts that issued them credit or debit cards-the apparent purpose being to evade U.S. taxes. Robert J. Samuelson, Newsweek, 8 Apr. 2002
From the beginning, it was apparent that she was not an ordinary child. He started yelling and throwing things for no apparent reason. We disagreed on the apparent meaning of the movie. What was the apparent cause of the accident?
Recent Examples on the Web An Illinois second-grade teacher and her ex-husband were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide that took place in her home in Normal, Ill., on May 29. Athena Sobhan, Peoplemag, 7 June 2024 Though the effects of Mr. Biden’s executive order had not yet become apparent on the U.S. side of the border, the bus was nonetheless standing idle a few feet away from his house. Edgar Sandoval, New York Times, 7 June 2024 The Middle Fork was reshaped by the gold rush of the 1800s, which was apparent throughout the trip. Chris Biderman, Sacramento Bee, 7 June 2024 For example, Kafka’s frustration is especially apparent in a set of journal entries written in the winter of 1915: January 20, 1915: The end of writing. Sonja Anderson, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for apparent 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'apparent.' 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 apparaunt, apparent, apperaunt, borrowed from Anglo-French apparaunt, from present participle of aparer, apareir "to be visible, appear"

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near apparent

Cite this Entry

“Apparent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


ap·​par·​ent ə-ˈpar-ənt How to pronounce apparent (audio)
: open to view : visible
: clear to the understanding : evident
apparent that the road was little used
: appearing to be true or real
the apparent meaning of the speech

Medical Definition


ap·​par·​ent ə-ˈpar-ənt, -ˈper- How to pronounce apparent (audio)
: clear or manifest to the senses
no apparent cause for the condition
: manifest to the senses or mind as real or true on the basis of evidence that may or may not be valid upon deeper investigation
the apparent stimulating action of a sedative drug may actually result from its depressant effectD. W. Maurer & V. H. Vogel

Legal Definition


: capable of being easily seen, perceived, or discovered
apparent defects
apparent ambiguity
: having a right to succeed to a title or estate that cannot be defeated
: appearing to one's senses and especially one's vision or to one's understanding as real or true on the basis of evidence that may or may not be correct or factual
an apparent ability to cause injury
the apparent scope of the agent's authority
apparently adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on apparent

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