"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[o-sten-suh-buh l] /ɒˈstɛn sə bəl/
outwardly appearing as such; professed; pretended:
an ostensible cheerfulness concealing sadness.
apparent, evident, or conspicuous:
the ostensible truth of their theories.
Origin of ostensible
1720-30; < French < Latin ostēns(us), variant of ostentus (see ostensive) + French -ible -ible
Related forms
ostensibly, adverb
nonostensible, adjective
nonostensibly, adverb
unostensible, adjective
unostensibly, adverb
Can be confused
ostensible, ostensive. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ostensibly
  • ostensibly preparing for the north, he secretly planned for the south.
  • ostensibly, the restrictions are designed to control illegal logging and related activities.
  • In both instances, the company is using my personal data ostensibly to better to serve me, but really to make a buck.
  • ostensibly, this work aimed to enhance the pathogens' virulence.
  • Meanwhile concerned citizens wondered whether these ostensibly benevolent electronic eyes were developing a suspicious squint.
  • In this approach the auction revenue goes to government, which ostensibly uses it to improve air quality.
  • It is also about the arrogance, ambition, cold-heartedness and mawkish sentimentality of the humans who ostensibly cared for him.
  • These days, stores and catalogs are crammed with all manner of new tools ostensibly designed for grilling.
  • ostensibly, the couples are couples, but in fact several of the partners are looking for an upgrade.
  • Crowds in the park have thinned considerably since the city cleaned out their encampment, ostensibly in the name of hygiene.
British Dictionary definitions for ostensibly


(sentence modifier) apparently; seemingly


apparent; seeming
Derived Forms
ostensibility, noun
Word Origin
C18: via French from Medieval Latin ostensibilis, from Latin ostendere to show, from ob- before + tendere to extend
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 ostensibly

1765, from ostensible + -ly (2).



1762, "capable of being shown, presentable," from French ostensible, from Latin ostens-, past participle stem of ostendere "to show, expose to view; to stretch out, spread before; exhibit, display," from ob "in front of" (see ob-) + tendere "to stretch" (see tenet). Meaning "apparent, professed" is from 1771.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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