apparent; appearing, whether truly or falsely, to be as specified: a seeming advantage.


appearance, especially outward or deceptive appearance.

Origin of seeming

1300–50; Middle English semynge; see seem, -ing2, -ing1
Related formsseem·ing·ly, adverbseem·ing·ness, noun

Synonyms for seeming



verb (used without object)

to appear to be, feel, do, etc.: She seems better this morning.
to appear to one's own senses, mind, observation, judgment, etc.: It seems to me that someone is calling.
to appear to exist: There seems no need to go now.
to appear to be true, probable, or evident: It seems likely to rain.
to give the outward appearance of being or to pretend to be: He only seems friendly because he wants you to like him.

Origin of seem

1150–1200; Middle English seme < Old Norse sœma to befit, beseem, derivative of sœmr fitting, seemly; akin to sōmi honor

Synonyms for seem

4. Seem, appear, look refer to an outward aspect that may or may not be contrary to reality. Seem is applied to something that has an aspect of truth and probability: It seems warmer today. Appear suggests the giving of an impression that may be superficial or illusory: The house appears to be deserted. Look more vividly suggests the use of the eye (literally or figuratively) or the aspect as perceived by the eye: She looked very much frightened. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for seeming

Contemporary Examples of seeming

Historical Examples of seeming

  • The old man read it and for a time mused himself into seeming oblivion.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Miss Milbrey nodded encouragement, seeming to chuckle inwardly.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Don't let me be surprised at your seeming unsisterliness, Bella.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Then there is a seeming silence, but it is the silence of a deeper sound.

    Ballads of a Bohemian

    Robert W. Service

  • She started suddenly awake, seeming to have been roused by the opening of a door.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

British Dictionary definitions for seeming



(prenominal) apparent but not actual or genuineseeming honesty


outward or false appearance
Derived Formsseemingness, noun


verb (may take an infinitive)

(copula) to appear to the mind or eye; lookthis seems nice; the car seems to be running well
to give the impression of existing; appear to bethere seems no need for all this nonsense
used to diminish the force of a following infinitive to be polite, more noncommittal, etcI can't seem to get through to you
Derived Formsseemer, noun

Word Origin for seem

C12: perhaps from Old Norse soma to beseem, from sœmr befitting; related to Old English sēman to reconcile; see same


See like 1
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 seeming

late 14c., present participle adjective from seem. Seemingly in sense of "to all appearances" recorded from 1590s.



c.1200, "to appear to be;" c.1300, "to be fitting, be appropriate, be suitable," though the more recent sense in English is the etymological one; from Old Norse soema "to honor; to put up with; to conform to (the world, etc.)," verb derived from adjective soemr "fitting," from Proto-Germanic *somi- (cf. Old English som "agreement, reconciliation," seman "to conciliate," source of Middle English semen "to settle a dispute," literally "to make one;" Old Danish some "to be proper or seemly"), from PIE *som-i-, from root *sem- "one, as one" (see same). Related: Seemed; seeming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper