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  1. present participle and gerund of seem


seeming (comparative more seeming, superlative most seeming)

  1. Appearing to the eye or mind (distinguished from, and often opposed to, real or actual).
    Synonyms: apparent, ostensible
    seeming friendship
    • c. 1596–1599 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Second Part of Henry the Fourth, []”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act V, scene ii]:
      O, good my lord, you have lost a friend / And I dare swear you borrow not that face / Of seeming sorrow—it is sure your own.
    • 1671, Aphra Behn, The Amorous Prince, or, The Curious Husband[1], London: Thomas Dring, act II, scene 5, pages 32–33:
      I'le hide my anger in a seeming calm,
      And what I have to do, consult the while,
      And mask my vengeance underneath a smile.
    • 1765, Oliver Goldsmith, Essays[2], London: W. Griffin, Essay 18, p. 150:
      Of all the English philosophers, I most reverence Bacon, that great and hardy genius: he it is who, undaunted by the seeming difficulties that oppose, prompts human curiosity to examine every part of nature;
    • 1876, George Eliot, chapter 27, in Daniel Deronda[3]:
      [] she was overcome like the thirsty one who is drawn toward the seeming water in the desert []
    • 1955, J. R. R. Tolkien, chapter 10, in The Return of the King, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, published 2012:
      [] though they marched in seeming peace, the hearts of all the army, from the highest to the lowest, were downcast, and with every mile that they went north foreboding of evil grew heavier on them.
    • 1962 January, “Motive Power Miscellany: London Midland Region: Midland Lines”, in Modern Railways, page 59:
      All the A.C.V. four-wheel diesel railbuses are now stored in seeming disrepair at Derby Friargate.
    • 2020 August 4, Richard Conniff, “They may look goofy, but ostriches are nobody’s fool”, in National Geographic Magazine[4]:
      Fields (or “camps”) enclosed by chest-high wire fences now contain thousands of ostriches in seeming harmony, sometimes spread out like feathered chess pieces, sometimes seated in clusters.

Derived terms[edit]



seeming (countable and uncountable, plural seemings)

  1. Outward appearance.
  2. (obsolete) Apprehension; judgement.
    • 1604, Richard Hooker, Of the Lawes of Ecclesiasticall Politie[7], London: Preface, page 39:
      Nothing more cleare vnto their seeming, then that a new Jerusalem being often spoken of in Scripture, they vndoubtedly were themselues that newe Ierusalem,
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book VIII”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC, lines 736-738:
      [] in her ears the sound
      Yet rung of his perswasive words, impregn’d
      With Reason, to her seeming, and with Truth;