Meaning of APPEARANCE in English


əˈpirən(t)s noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English apperaunce, alteration (influenced by apperen to appear) of apparaunce, apparence, from Middle French aparance, apparence, from Late Latin apparentia, from Latin apparent-, apparens (present participle of apparēre to appear) + -ia -y

1. : the act, action, or process of appearing: as

a. : the act or action of coming into view or being visible

the sudden appearance of enemy troops

the unexpected appearance of smoke on the horizon

b. : the act or action of coming before the public or into public view

his last appearance on the London stage

financially secure since the appearance of his last novel

c. : the action or process of coming into existence (as by development, discovery, or invention)

within a few years after the appearance of the … canal boat — American Guide Series: New York

d. : the act or action of coming formally before an authoritative body

his appearance before the board


(1) : the coming into court of either of the parties to a suit

(2) : the coming into court of a party summoned in an action or his attorney

(3) : the act or proceeding by which a party proceeded against places himself before the court and submits to its jurisdiction (as by making the proper entry in the court records and remaining within reach of its process)


a. : the state or form in which one appears : aspect , look , mien

his whole appearance was markedly different from that of the guests usually to be seen — Archibald Marshall


(1) : an outward state of appearing as opposed to an actual state : external show or pretense : semblance

traders, though hostile to the settlement, had to preserve an appearance of neutrality — B.K.Sandwell

(2) appearances plural : outward show intended especially to conceal a real or fancied disgrace or to avoid a social lapse

they spent their lives trying to keep up appearances and to make his salary do more than it could — Willa Cather

c. appearances plural : outward indications, circumstances, or events

to all appearances he was guilty


(1) : a sense impression of a thing as distinguished from its true nature or real existence

the blue of distant hills is only an appearance

(2) : a sensation of an object as produced or modified by the character of the sense organs or by particular circumstances

the different appearances of a penny viewed from different angles

e. : the phenomenal as opposed to the real:

(1) : something given in sensation or impression as contrasted with something subject to rational verification

(2) : the sum total of human or finite experience as contrasted with the reality of the absolute

that philosophic legerdemain which, with only experience for its datum, would condemn this experience to the status of appearance and disclose a reality more edifying — C.I.Lewis


a. : something that appears:

(1) : phenomenon

a great observer of natural appearances — William Cowper

(2) archaic : apparition

this appearance passed for as real a thing as the blazing star itself — Daniel Defoe

b. : an instance of appearing : occurrence

the first appearance of that word in English

4. obsolete : a gathering or company : attendance

an innumerable appearance of gallants — John Evelyn


appearance , look , aspect , semblance can mean, in common, the outward show or image presented by a person or thing. appearance usually suggests no more than the meaning common to the group

the appearance of the house has been unfortunately altered by the addition of an upper gallery — American Guide Series: Louisiana

his long, flowing beard, whitening with the years, gave to his countenance a patriarchal appearance — H.A.Bridgman

but can suggest a dissembling or pretense

giving highway robbery the appearance of legality — H.W.Carter

going into debt to keep up an appearance of prosperity

look usually carries the meaning common to the group but often (generally in the plural) suggests a more objective condition than appearance , stressing the concrete details of outward appearance

he's wearing a queer kind of knickerbocker suit. He hasn't the look of a journalist — John Buchan

did not care for the looks of Labrador — Russell Lord

nor has she lost her dark, good looks — Irish Digest

aspect is like look in stressing the features, usually suggesting a characteristic or habitual appearance, especially facial expression, but most commonly is applied to nonconcrete things

his voice and aspect were quite friendly — George Meredith

this was the dreariest evening aspect of the sea he had ever seen — Joseph Conrad

such is the lot of the man who writes upon the subject of the day; the aspect of affairs changes in an hour or two — William Cowper

“Democracy,” he says, “has different aspects in different lands” — C.L.Sulzberger

semblance can signify an outward seeming, an approximation, without suggesting falseness or hypocrisy, but generally implies a difference between outward appearance and inner reality

it is the semblance which interests the painter, not the actual object — Times Literary Supplement

this mission has recently been restored to some semblance of its former grandeur — American Guide Series: Texas

giving defeat the semblance of victory — H.A.Overstreet

a regime with efficient instruments of terror must cloak its power so as to give it a semblance of legitimacy — Julian Towster

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.