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[seem] /sim/
verb (used without object)
to appear to be, feel, do, etc.:
She seems better this morning.
to appear to one's own senses, mind, observation, judgment, etc.:
It seems to me that someone is calling.
to appear to exist:
There seems no need to go now.
to appear to be true, probable, or evident:
It seems likely to rain.
to give the outward appearance of being or to pretend to be:
He only seems friendly because he wants you to like him.
1150-1200; Middle English seme < Old Norse sœma to befit, beseem, derivative of sœmr fitting, seemly; akin to sōmi honor
4. Seem, appear, look refer to an outward aspect that may or may not be contrary to reality. Seem is applied to something that has an aspect of truth and probability: It seems warmer today. Appear suggests the giving of an impression that may be superficial or illusory: The house appears to be deserted. Look more vividly suggests the use of the eye (literally or figuratively) or the aspect as perceived by the eye: She looked very much frightened. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for seems
  • He possesses the third term he so desired and yet he seems not to know what to do with it.
  • It's a little less work than emptying a hammock and seems to suit us and our chickens.
  • In fact, in this still sluggish economy, it seems to be one of the few growth industries.
  • It seems that something so beautiful shouldn't be this easy to reach.
  • Because they are used extensively in this garden, the whole landscape seems to dance with light.
  • They let the syrup steep overnight, and whatever mix of blossom colors they use, the syrup seems to turn pink.
  • The casual comfort of the two chairs seems to invite relaxation and intimate conversation.
  • Individuality seems to be eradicated by advertising and magazines that are dictating our understanding of beauty.
  • Something resembling a pillow seems to bulge out of another casket.
  • Scientific illustrators, it seems, often keep uncommon company.
British Dictionary definitions for seems


verb (may take an infinitive)
(copula) to appear to the mind or eye; look this seems nice, the car seems to be running well
to give the impression of existing; appear to be there seems no need for all this nonsense
used to diminish the force of a following infinitive to be polite, more noncommittal, etc I can't seem to get through to you
Derived Forms
seemer, noun
Word Origin
C12: perhaps from Old Norse soma to beseem, from sœmr befitting; related to Old English sēman to reconcile; see same
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 seems
c.1200, from O.N. soema "to befit, conform to," and soemr "fitting, seemly," from P.Gmc. *som- (cf. O.E. som "agreement, reconciliation," seman "to conciliate"), related to P.Gmc. *samon (see same).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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