[ o-sten-suh-buh l ]
/ ɒˈstɛn sə bəl /


outwardly appearing as such; professed; pretended: an ostensible cheerfulness concealing sadness.
apparent, evident, or conspicuous: the ostensible truth of their theories.

Origin of ostensible

1720–30; < French < Latin ostēns(us), variant of ostentus (see ostensive) + French -ible -ible

Related forms

Can be confused

ostensible ostensive
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ostensible

British Dictionary definitions for ostensible


/ (ɒˈstɛnsɪbəl) /


apparent; seeming

Derived Forms

ostensibility, noun

Word Origin for ostensible

C18: via French from Medieval Latin ostensibilis, from Latin ostendere to show, from ob- before + tendere to extend
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