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From French apparence, from Latin apparentia, from appareo. Displaced native Middle English wlite(appearance).



appearance ‎(plural appearances)

  1. The act of appearing or coming into sight; the act of becoming visible to the eye.
    His sudden appearance surprised me.
  2. A thing seen; a phenomenon; an apparition.
    There was a strange appearance in the sky.
  3. Personal presence; look; aspect; mien.
    • John Milton (1608-1674)
      And now am come to see . . . It thy appearance answer loud report.
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 5, in A Cuckoo in the Nest:
      The most rapid and most seductive transition in all human nature is that which attends the palliation of a ravenous appetite. [] Can those harmless but refined fellow-diners be the selfish cads whose gluttony and personal appearance so raised your contemptuous wrath on your arrival?
  4. Apparent likeness; external show; how something appears to others.
    Some people say I'm shallow because I care so much about my appearance.
    • Bible, Numbers ix. 15
      There was upon the tabernacle, as it were, the appearance of fire.
    • Bible, 1 Samuel xvi. 7
      For man looketh on the outward appearance.
    • Bible, John vii. 24
      Judge not according to the appearance.
  5. (philosophy, theology) That which is not substance, essence, hypostasis; the outward reality as opposed to the underlying reality
    Catholicism teaches that the Eucharist, while remaining under the physical appearance of bread and wine, becomes really and truly the body and the blood of Christ.
  6. The act of appearing in a particular place, or in society, a company, or any proceedings; a coming before the public in a particular character.
    A person makes his appearance as an historian, an artist, or an orator.
    David Beckham's first appearance with the LA Galaxy at Giants Stadium against the New York Red Bulls last night drew a crowd of 66237.
    • John Milton (1608-1674)
      Will he now retire, After appearance, and again prolong Our expectation?
  7. (law) The coming into court of either of the parties; the being present in court; the coming into court of a party summoned in an action, either by himself or by his attorney, expressed by a formal entry by the proper officer to that effect; the act or proceeding by which a party proceeded against places himself before the court, and submits to its jurisdiction.
  8. (medicine) Chiefly used by nurses: the act of defecation by a patient.
    The patient had a small bowel obstruction and there was no appearance until after the obstruction resolved.


Derived terms[edit]




Most common English words before 1923: simple · fresh · noble · #712: appearance · period · William · remain