View synonyms for appearance


[ uh-peer-uhns ]


  1. the act or fact of appearing, as to the eye or mind or before the public:

    the unannounced appearance of dinner guests; the last appearance of Caruso in Aïda; her first appearance at a stockholders' meeting.

    Synonyms: advent, coming, arrival

  2. the state, condition, manner, or style in which a person or object appears; outward look or aspect:

    a table of antique appearance; a man of noble appearance.

    Synonyms: presence, demeanor

  3. outward show or seeming; semblance:

    to avoid the appearance of coveting an honor.

    Synonyms: pretense, face

  4. Law. the coming into court of either party to a suit or action.
  5. appearances, outward impressions, indications, or circumstances:

    By all appearances, he enjoyed himself.

  6. Philosophy. the sensory, or phenomenal, aspect of existence to an observer.
  7. Archaic. an apparition.


/ əˈpɪərəns /


  1. the act or an instance of appearing, as to the eye, before the public, etc
  2. the outward or visible aspect of a person or thing

    it has the appearance of powdered graphite

    her appearance was stunning

  3. an outward show; pretence

    he gave an appearance of working hard

  4. often plural one of the outward signs or indications by which a person or thing is assessed

    first appearances are deceptive

  5. law
    1. the formal attendance in court of a party in an action
    2. formal notice that a party or his legal representative intends to maintain or contest the issue

      to enter an appearance

  6. philosophy
    1. the outward or phenomenal manifestation of things
    2. the world as revealed by the senses, as opposed to its real nature Compare reality
  7. keep up appearances
    to maintain the public impression of wellbeing or normality
  8. put in an appearance or make an appearance
    to come or attend briefly, as out of politeness
  9. to all appearances
    to the extent that can easily be judged; apparently

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Other Words From

  • preap·pearance noun
  • reap·pearance noun
  • subap·pearance noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of appearance1

First recorded in 1350–1400; appear + -ance; replacing Middle English aparance, from Anglo-French, Old French, from Late Latin appārentia, neuter plural of Latin appārēns apparent

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. keep up appearances, to maintain a public impression of decorum, prosperity, etc., despite reverses, unfavorable conditions, etc.:

    They tried to keep up appearances after losing all their money.

  2. make an appearance, to come; arrive:

    He didn't make an appearance until after midnight.

  3. put in an appearance, to attend a gathering or meeting, especially for a very short time:

    The author put in an appearance at the cocktail party on her way to dinner.

More idioms and phrases containing appearance

see keep up appearances ; put in an appearance .

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Synonym Study

Appearance, aspect, guise refer to the way in which something outwardly presents itself to view. Appearance refers to the outward look: the shabby appearance of his car. Aspect refers to the appearance at some particular time or in special circumstances; it often has emotional implications, either ascribed to the object itself or felt by the beholder: In the dusk the forest had a terrifying aspect. Guise suggests a misleading appearance, assumed for an occasion or a purpose: under the guise of friendship.

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Example Sentences

He knew that a public appearance with Duke could be disastrous.

In his brief appearance today, Scalise never mentioned Duke.

The healthier appearance and civilian clothing are very peculiar.

The majority of these stories are making their first appearance online.

An appearance in even a third-tier bowl is worth a couple million dollars.

I was rather awed by his imposing appearance, and advanced timidly to the doors, which were of glass, and pulled the bell.

And once more, she found herself desiring to be like Janet--not only in appearance, but in soft manner and tone.

Where the dampness is excessive the fronds take on an unhealthy appearance, and mould may appear.

Keep closely covered with a bell glass and, in a few weeks, more or less, the baby Ferns will start to put in an appearance.

This gave the house a very cheerful appearance, as if it were constantly on a broad grin.


Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




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