evoking or attracting interest, desire, curiosity, sympathy, or the like; attractive.

Origin of appealing

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; see origin at appeal, -ing2
Related formsap·peal·ing·ly, adverbap·peal·ing·ness, nounnon·ap·peal·ing, adjectivenon·ap·peal·ing·ly, adverbnon·ap·peal·ing·ness, nounqua·si-ap·peal·ing, adjectivequa·si-ap·peal·ing·ly, adverbun·ap·peal·ing, adjectiveun·ap·peal·ing·ly, adverb




an earnest request for aid, support, sympathy, mercy, etc.; entreaty; petition; plea.
a request or reference to some person or authority for a decision, corroboration, judgment, etc.
  1. an application or proceeding for review by a higher tribunal.
  2. (in a legislative body or assembly) a formal question as to the correctness of a ruling by a presiding officer.
  3. Obsolete.a formal charge or accusation.
the power or ability to attract, interest, amuse, or stimulate the mind or emotions: The game has lost its appeal.
Obsolete. a summons or challenge.

verb (used without object)

to ask for aid, support, mercy, sympathy, or the like; make an earnest entreaty: The college appealed to its alumni for funds.
Law. to apply for review of a case or particular issue to a higher tribunal.
to have need of or ask for proof, a decision, corroboration, etc.
to be especially attractive, pleasing, interesting, or enjoyable: The red hat appeals to me.

verb (used with object)

  1. to apply for review of (a case) to a higher tribunal.
  2. charge with a crime before a tribunal.


    appeal to the country, British. country(def 16).

Origin of appeal

1250–1300; (v.) Middle English a(p)pelen < Anglo-French, Old French a(p)peler < Latin appellāre to speak to, address, equivalent to ap- ap-1 + -pellāre, iterative stem of pellere to push, beat against; (noun) Middle English ap(p)el < Anglo-French, Old French apel, noun derivative of ap(p)eler
Related formsap·peal·a·bil·i·ty, nounap·peal·a·ble, adjectiveap·peal·er, nounnon·ap·peal·a·bil·i·ty, nounnon·ap·peal·a·ble, adjectivere·ap·peal, verbun·ap·pealed, adjective

Synonyms for appeal

Synonym study

6. Appeal, entreat, petition, supplicate mean to ask for something wished for or needed. Appeal and petition may concern groups and formal or public requests. Entreat and supplicate are usually more personal and urgent. To appeal is to ask earnestly for help or support, on grounds of reason, justice, common humanity, etc.: to appeal for contributions to a cause. To petition is to ask by written request, by prayer, or the like, that something be granted: to petition for more playgrounds. Entreat suggests pleading: The captured knight entreated the king not to punish him. To supplicate is to beg humbly, usually from a superior, powerful, or stern (official) person: to supplicate that the lives of prisoners be spared. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for appealing

Contemporary Examples of appealing

Historical Examples of appealing

  • In her perplexity, she was appealing to him who was practically a stranger.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Wanhope had the effect of appealing to Minver, but the painter would not relent.

    Questionable Shapes

    William Dean Howells

  • But she seemed to be appealing to him reproachfully, and he did not understand her.

  • For eight days he had much fever, and his appealing looks were pitiful to see.

    Salted With Fire

    George MacDonald

  • It was answered by a slim, appealing girl of perhaps twenty-two.

    Spawn of the Comet

    Harold Thompson Rich

British Dictionary definitions for appealing



attractive or pleasing
Derived Formsappealingly, adverb



a request for relief, aid, etc
the power to attract, please, stimulate, or interesta dress with appeal
an application or resort to another person or authority, esp a higher one, as for a decision or confirmation of a decision
  1. the judicial review by a superior court of the decision of a lower tribunal
  2. a request for such review
  3. the right to such review
cricket a verbal request to the umpire from one or more members of the fielding side to declare a batsman out
English law (formerly) a formal charge or accusationappeal of felony


(intr) to make an earnest request for relief, support, etc
(intr) to attract, please, stimulate, or interest
law to apply to a superior court to review (a case or particular issue decided by a lower tribunal)
(intr) to resort (to), as for a decision or confirmation of a decision
(intr) cricket to ask the umpire to declare a batsman out
(intr) to challenge the umpire's or referee's decision
Derived Formsappealable, adjectiveappealer, noun

Word Origin for appeal

C14: from Old French appeler, from Latin appellāre to entreat (literally: to approach), from pellere to push, drive
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for appealing

mid-15c. as a noun, "action of petitioning a higher court or authority," verbal noun from appeal (v.). Adjectival sense of "attractive" attested by 1892. Related: Appealingly.



early 14c., originally in legal sense of "to call" to a higher judge or court, from Anglo-French apeler "to call upon, accuse," Old French apeler "make an appeal" (11c., Modern French appeler), from Latin appellare "to accost, address, appeal to, summon, name," iterative of appellere "to prepare," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + pellere "to beat, drive" (see pulse (n.1)). Related: Appealed; appealing.

Probably a Roman metaphoric extension of a nautical term for "driving a ship toward a particular landing." Popular modern meaning "to be attractive or pleasing" is quite recent, attested from 1907 (appealing in this sense is from 1891), from the notion of "to address oneself in expectation of a sympathetic response."



c.1300, in the legal sense, from Old French apel (Modern French appel), back-formation from apeler (see appeal (v.)). Meaning "call to an authority" is from 1620s; that of "attractive power" attested by 1916.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper