1250–1300; Middle English < Middle French, equivalent to sembl(er) to seem (see resemble) + -ance -ance

1. aspect, exterior, mien, air. 2. seeming. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
semblance (ˈsɛmbləns)
1.  outward appearance, esp without any inner substance or reality
2.  a resemblance or copy
[C13: from Old French, from sembler to seem, from Latin simulāre to imitate, from similis like]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, "fact of appearing to view," from O.Fr. semblance, semblant "likeness, appearance," from sembler "to seem, appear," from L. simulare "to resemble, imitate," from similis "like" (see similar). Meaning "person's appearance or demeanor" is attested from c.1400; that
of "false, assumed or deceiving appearance" is from 1599. Meaning "person or thing that resembles another" is attested from 1513.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The brief paragraphs of animated narrative, however, are often without even
  this semblance of a topic sentence.
If there is a cause, there is a cure and those with that curse can be brought
  back to normalcy or some semblance of a normal life.
We depend on some semblance of the current climate and ecosystem to survive as
  a species.
Because they know that these people will never bother to read a book, or
  attempt to operate with a semblance of objectivity.
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