[ sem-bluhns ]
/ ˈsɛm bləns /


outward aspect or appearance.
an assumed or unreal appearance; show.
the slightest appearance or trace.
a likeness, image, or copy.
a spectral appearance; apparition.

Origin of semblance

1250–1300; Middle English < Middle French, equivalent to sembl(er) to seem (see resemble) + -ance -ance Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for semblance

British Dictionary definitions for semblance


/ (ˈsɛmbləns) /


outward appearance, esp without any inner substance or reality
a resemblance or copy

Word Origin for semblance

C13: from Old French, from sembler to seem, from Latin simulāre to imitate, from similis like
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 semblance



c.1300, "fact of appearing to view," from Old French semblance, from semblant "likeness, appearance," present participle of sembler "to seem, appear," from Latin simulare "to resemble, imitate," from similis "like" (see similar (adj.)). Meaning "person's appearance or demeanor" is attested from c.1400; that of "false, assumed or deceiving appearance" is from 1590s. Meaning "person or thing that resembles another" is attested from 1510s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper