8 Wintry Words to Defrost Your Vocabulary


[uh-peer-uh ns] /əˈpɪər əns/
the act or fact of appearing, as to the eye or mind or before the public:
the unannounced appearance of dinner guests; the last appearance of Caruso in Aïda; her first appearance at a stockholders' meeting.
the state, condition, manner, or style in which a person or object appears; outward look or aspect:
a table of antique appearance; a man of noble appearance.
outward show or seeming; semblance:
to avoid the appearance of coveting an honor.
Law. the coming into court of either party to a suit or action.
appearances, outward impressions, indications, or circumstances:
By all appearances, he enjoyed himself.
Philosophy. the sensory, or phenomenal, aspect of existence to an observer.
Archaic. an apparition.
keep up appearances, to maintain a public impression of decorum, prosperity, etc., despite reverses, unfavorable conditions, etc.:
They tried to keep up appearances after losing all their money.
make an appearance, to come; arrive:
He didn't make an appearance until after midnight.
put in an appearance, to attend a gathering or meeting, especially for a very short time:
The author put in an appearance at the cocktail party on her way to dinner.
1350-1400; appear + -ance; replacing Middle English aparance < Anglo-French, Old French < Late Latin appārentia, neuter plural of Latin appārēns apparent
Related forms
preappearance, noun
reappearance, noun
subappearance, noun
1. arrival, coming, advent. 2. demeanor, presence. Appearance, aspect, guise refer to the way in which something outwardly presents itself to view. Appearance refers to the outward look: the shabby appearance of his car. Aspect refers to the appearance at some particular time or in special circumstances; it often has emotional implications, either ascribed to the object itself or felt by the beholder: In the dusk the forest had a terrifying aspect. Guise suggests a misleading appearance, assumed for an occasion or a purpose: under the guise of friendship. 3. face, pretense. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for appearances
  • For one thing, she declined to sign the standard contract that committed winners to a series of promotional appearances.
  • Bald eagles, osprey, a panoply of duck species and other water birds make frequent appearances.
  • As for the look of the game, the designers kept appearances consistent with the original film.
  • Many species have developed deceptive appearances to fool would-be predators by taking on the look of other unpalatable species.
  • But much remains unknown about the insects' periods or what triggers their synchronized appearances.
  • Let's use the commercials for hydrogen-powered cars that are starting to make appearances on television as an example.
  • But dog breeds differ in more than their outward appearances.
  • You'll also find a schedule of bookstore and public appearances there.
  • It builds character and allows me to express myself without repercussions on physical appearances.
  • In world capitals, leaders fortified their security and curtailed public appearances.
British Dictionary definitions for appearances


the act or an instance of appearing, as to the eye, before the public, etc
the outward or visible aspect of a person or thing: her appearance was stunning, it has the appearance of powdered graphite
an outward show; pretence: he gave an appearance of working hard
(often pl) one of the outward signs or indications by which a person or thing is assessed: first appearances are deceptive
  1. the formal attendance in court of a party in an action
  2. formal notice that a party or his legal representative intends to maintain or contest the issue: to enter an appearance
  1. the outward or phenomenal manifestation of things
  2. the world as revealed by the senses, as opposed to its real nature Compare reality (sense 4)
keep up appearances, to maintain the public impression of wellbeing or normality
put in an appearance, make an appearance, to come or attend briefly, as out of politeness
to all appearances, to the extent that can easily be judged; apparently
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for appearances



late 14c., "visible state or form, figure; mere show," from Anglo-French apparaunce, Old French aparance "appearance, display, pomp" (13c.), from Latin apparentia, abstract noun from aparentem, past participle of apparere (see appear). Meaning "semblance" is recorded from early 15c.; that of "action of coming into view" is mid-15c. Phrase keep up appearances attested from 1760 (save appearances in same sense is 1711).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with appearances
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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