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From Middle English semyngly, equivalent to seeming +‎ -ly.


  • IPA(key): /ˈsiːmɪŋli/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: seem‧ing‧ly


seemingly (comparative more seemingly, superlative most seemingly)

  1. As it appears; apparently.
    • 1748, Hume, David, Enquiries concerning the human understanding and concerning the principles of moral, section 15, Oxford University Press, published 1973:
      [] an object, seemingly like those which we have experienced, may be attended with different or contrary effects.
    • 1816, Austen, Jane, chapter 8, in Emma, volume 1:
      Mr. Woodhouse at last was off; but Mr. Knightley, instead of being immediately off likewise, sat down again, seemingly inclined for more chat. He began speaking of Harriet, and speaking of her with more voluntary praise than Emma had ever heard before.
    • 1918, Maxwell, W[illiam] B[abington], chapter 5, in The Mirror and the Lamp[1]:
      Then everybody once more knelt, and soon the blessing was pronounced. The choir and the clergy trooped out slowly, […], down the nave to the western door. […] At a seemingly immense distance the surpliced group stopped to say the last prayer.
    • 2006, Collins, Ace, More Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas, page 64:
      He sacrificed nothing, laboring to get even the most seemingly insignificant element of every record perfect.
    • 2011 October 1, Fordyce, Tom, “Rugby World Cup 2011: England 16-12 Scotland”, in BBC Sport[2]:
      With rain lashing across the ground at kick-off and every man in Auckland seemingly either English-born or supporting Scotland, Eden Park was transformed into Murrayfield in March.
  2. In a seemly manner; decorously; with propriety.
    • 1950, Turner, Francis Charles, James II, page 172:
      It was possibly chagrin at this neglect that caused James to omit the most ordinary courtesies to the few gentlemen who had behaved seemingly: [] .
    • 1974, Uzoigwe, G[odfrey] N[wanoruo], Britain and the Conquest of Africa: The Age of Salisbury, page 180:
      [] was restored to his throne but only on the understanding that he behave seemingly.
    • 1989, Yi-fu Tuan, Morality & Imagination: Paradoxes of Progress, page 40:
      [] they know the roles and statuses of deities, ancestral spirits, and men, and how to behave seemingly in their presence.


Derived terms[edit]