ap·​pear·​ance | \ ə-ˈpir-ən(t)s How to pronounce appearance (audio) \

Definition of appearance

1a : external show : semblance Although hostile, he preserved an appearance of neutrality.
b : outward aspect : look had a fierce appearance
c appearances plural : outward indication trying to keep up appearances
2a : a sense impression or aspect of a thing The blue of distant hills is only an appearance.
b : the world of sensible phenomena
3a : the act, action, or process of appearing the first appearance of that word in English
b law : the presentation of oneself in court as a party to an action often through the representation of an attorney
4a : something that appears : phenomenon
b : an instance of appearing : occurrence her first public appearance since winning the award

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Synonyms for appearance


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Examples of appearance in a Sentence

The general appearance of the house is quite good. The museum restored the painting to its original appearance. lotions that improve your skin's appearance and texture You shouldn't judge a man by his appearance. Have you noticed any changes in her appearance? He appears to be happy, but appearances can be deceptive. Their expensive home created a false appearance of success and happiness.
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Recent Examples on the Web Jarrid Williams made his first start of the season against Spartans at right tackle after not making an appearance in either of UM’s first two games. Khobi Price,, 18 Sep. 2021 There had been early indications that the event would be a shadow of the Jan. 6 protest, which was well organized by a variety of groups, featured an array of far-right personalities and included an appearance by President Donald Trump., 18 Sep. 2021 They were given desk appearance tickets and ordered to appear in court Oct. 5. CBS News, 17 Sep. 2021 Philbrick uses Washington’s uneventful appearance in Portsmouth, N.H., to flash forward and tell the Ona Judge story. Washington Post, 17 Sep. 2021 Last fall, as Chandler Hamilton was rolling to an appearance in the Open Division state championship game, its opponent on Friday was sitting at home, left without a season to play. The Arizona Republic, 17 Sep. 2021 Abrams returns to Wisconsin Wednesday night with an appearance at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 17 Sep. 2021 At the mention of championships, of which the Clippers have earned none in their 51-year franchise history, a roar of noise swallowed his last words, the volume coming only months after the team’s first conference final appearance. Los Angeles Times, 17 Sep. 2021 Salguero-Olivares' first court appearance is scheduled for September 21 at the Durham County Courthouse, according to the Durham County Sheriff's Office. Rebekah Riess, CNN, 17 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'appearance.' 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 appearance

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for appearance

re-formation (after appear) of Middle English apparence, aparaunce, borrowed from Anglo-French apparaunce, apparence, borrowed from Late Latin appārentia, noun derivative of Latin appārent-, appārens, present participle of appārēre "to be visible, appear"

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Time Traveler for appearance

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near appearance



appearances to the contrary

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Statistics for appearance

Last Updated

21 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Appearance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for appearance



English Language Learners Definition of appearance

: the way that someone or something looks
: a way of looking that is not true or real
: the action of appearing : the fact that something or someone arrives or begins to be seen


ap·​pear·​ance | \ ə-ˈpir-əns How to pronounce appearance (audio) \

Kids Definition of appearance

1 : the way something looks The room has a cool appearance.
2 : the act or an instance of appearing His sudden appearance startled us.


ap·​pear·​ance | \ ə-ˈpir-ən(t)s How to pronounce appearance (audio) \

Medical Definition of appearance

1 : the action or process of becoming evident to the senses the sudden appearance of a rash on the body
2 : the outward or visible aspect of something a tumor with a spongy appearance

Other Words from appearance

appear \ ə-​ˈpi(ə)r How to pronounce appearance (audio) \ intransitive verb

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Legal Definition of appearance

1 : the presentation of oneself in court as a party to or as an attorney for a party to a lawsuit also : a document filed in court by an attorney declaring his or her representation of a party to a lawsuit — see also general appearance, special appearance
2 : outward look a lawyer should avoid the appearance of impropriety

More from Merriam-Webster on appearance

Nglish: Translation of appearance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of appearance for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about appearance


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