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From ostensible +‎ -ly.


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ɒˈstɛn.sɪ.bli/ or /ɒˈstɛn.sə.bli/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ɑːˈstɛn.sə.bli/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: os‧ten‧si‧bly


ostensibly (not comparable)

  1. (modal) Seemingly, apparently, on the surface.
    Synonyms: apparently, arguably, at first blush, seemingly; see also Thesaurus:ostensibly
    • 1889, Stephen, Leslie; Lee, Sidney, Dictionary of National Biography:
      On 13 June the peshwa signed a new treaty, ostensibly complying with the demands of the British government []
    • 1905, Upton Sinclair, chapter IX, in The Jungle, New York, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page & Company, published 26 February 1906, OCLC 1150866071:
      Up to a year or two ago it had been the custom to kill horses in the yards — ostensibly for fertilizer; []
    • 2007, Herbert, Brian; Anderson, Kevin J, Sandworms of Dune:
      People strive to achieve perfection — ostensibly an honorable goal — but complete perfection is dangerous. To be imperfect, but human, is far preferable.
    • 2007 April 10, “Who Killed Ashraf Marwan?”, in The New York Times[1], retrieved 18 September 2015:
      Mr. Marwan’s story — a tale overflowing with the suspense and ruthless duplicity of a spy novel — began to take shape in the spring of 1969. He had come to London, ostensibly to consult a Harley Street doctor about a stomach ailment. He chose to be examined by a doctor whose offices had been used previously for a covert meeting between King Hussein of Jordan and the general director of the Israeli prime minister’s office."

Related terms[edit]