Meaning of APPEARANCE in English


ap ‧ pear ‧ ance W2 /əˈpɪərəns $ əˈpɪr-/ BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: verb : ↑ appear ≠ ↑ disappear , ↑ reappear ; noun : ↑ appearance ≠ ↑ disappearance , ↑ reappearance ]

1 . WAY SOMEBODY/SOMETHING LOOKS [uncountable and countable] the way someone or something looks to other people:

He was always criticising his wife’s appearance.

appearance of

They’ve changed the appearance of the whole building.

We are often attracted to somebody first by their physical appearance.

Women, in general, tend to be more concerned than men about their personal appearance.

She had an outward appearance of calm, but deep down she was really worried.

The metal posts spoiled the appearance of the garden.

A garnish helps to enhance the appearance of any dish.

She’s the kind of woman who takes pride in her appearance.

You shouldn’t judge by appearances.

They work hard at school without giving the appearance of being particularly hard-working.

The case had all the appearances of a straightforward murder.

The pupils looked angelic – but appearances can be deceptive.

He was, to all appearances, a respectable, successful businessman.

2 . SOMEBODY TAKES PART IN A PUBLIC EVENT [countable] when a famous person takes part in a film, concert, or other public event:

It was his first public appearance since the election.

He made his last appearance for the club in the Cup Final.

appearance money/fee (=money paid to a famous person to attend an event)

3 . SOMETHING NEW STARTS TO EXIST [singular] when something new begins to exist or starts being used

appearance of

The industry has changed greatly with the appearance of new technologies.

the appearance of buds on the trees

4 . ARRIVAL [countable usually singular] the unexpected or sudden arrival of someone or something

appearance of

Eileen was deep in concentration, and the sudden appearance of her daughter startled her.

5 . keep up appearances to dress and behave in the way in which people expect you to, especially to hide your true situation:

She just wanted to keep up appearances for the kids.

6 . for appearances’ sake/for the sake of appearances if you do something for appearances’ sake, you are trying to behave how people expect you to, especially to hide your true situation or feelings

7 . put in an appearance/make an appearance to go to an event for a short time, because you think you should rather than because you want to:

At least Marc managed to put in an appearance at the party.

8 . AT A LAW COURT/MEETING [countable] an occasion when someone goes to a court of law or official meeting to give information, answer questions etc:

He is due to make another court appearance on Monday.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ adjectives

▪ somebody's/something's physical appearance

If you want to improve your physical appearance, eat well and exercise.

▪ somebody's personal appearance

Teenagers are very conscious of their personal appearance.

▪ somebody's/something's odd/strange appearance

Children sometimes stared at him because of his odd appearance.

▪ a distinctive/striking appearance (=unusual and interesting)

The unusual leaves give the plant a distinctive appearance.

▪ an attractive/handsome/pleasing etc appearance

Large blue eyes set in a long thin face give him a striking and attractive appearance.

▪ somebody's youthful appearance

She was no longer a young woman, despite her youthful appearance.

▪ the outward appearance

Beneath the outward appearance of confidence, she is very shy.

▪ the general/overall appearance

The second phase of the project is to improve the town’s overall appearance.

▪ the visual appearance

Intensive farming changed the visual appearance of the countryside.

■ verbs

▪ have a ... appearance

The young girl had a pleasing appearance.

▪ improve/enhance the appearance of something/somebody

Fresh air improves the appearance of the skin.

▪ change/alter the appearance of something

The proposed dam will change the appearance of the surrounding countryside enormously.

▪ give something/somebody a … appearance

His uniform gave him an official appearance.

■ phrases

▪ take pride in your appearance (=make an effort to look good)

She seems to take no pride at all in her personal appearance these days.

▪ judge by appearances (=make judgements based on the way somebody/something looks)

You shouldn’t judge by appearances.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + appearance

▪ somebody's first/second/last etc appearance

This is the band's last appearance in the UK before a 46-date tour of Europe.

▪ a public appearance

In his first public appearance since his election, the President-elect ruled out talks with the United States.

▪ a radio/TV appearance

John hated the endless TV appearances to promote each new album.

▪ a guest appearance (=an appearance by a famous person on a TV show or at a musical event, in addition to the people who usually take part)

He made several guest appearances on the show in the mid-60s.

▪ a cameo appearance (=a short appearance in a film or play by a well-known actor or person )

Alfred Hitchcock always made a cameo appearance in his own films.

▪ a personal appearance

The First Lady is asked to make a large number of personal appearances for worthy causes.

▪ a live appearance

Troy's first live appearance was at last year's Montreux Jazz Festival.

▪ a Wembley/Hollywood Bowl etc appearance

He led the Broncos to three Super Bowl appearances in twelve years.

▪ a farewell appearance (=a last appearance)

His farewell appearance for the club was made in front of a packed crowd.

■ verbs

▪ make an appearance

The President made a dramatic appearance on nationwide television to announce a fresh peace initiative.

■ appearance + NOUN

▪ appearance fee/money (=the money someone is paid to appear somewhere)

He gave his appearance fee to charity.

• • •


▪ appearance the way someone or something looks to other people:

She’d had plastic surgery to change her appearance.


The mushrooms are similar in appearance to poisonous ones, so you have to be careful.

▪ looks someone’s appearance, especially when considering how good-looking they are. Looks is more informal than appearance :

Girls of that age are always worried about their looks.


People generally describe him as having boyish good looks.

▪ image the appearance and character that a person, organization, product etc deliberately tries to produce:

She wowed fans with her sleek new image.


The scandal has damaged her image as an honest politician.


The car has a racy new image.

▪ aspect literary the appearance of someone or something:

The costume gives his character an even more sinister aspect.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.