Word of the Day Archive
Saturday September 7, 2002
ostensible \ah-STEN-suh-bul\ , adjective:
Represented or appearing to be true, but not necessarily so.
The credibility of the energy-trading sector has been severely damaged by disclosures of sham transactions in energy trading, designed to build up ostensible sales and profits and therefore share prices of the trading companies.
-- James Flanigan, "Dynegy CEO Quits as Probe of Sham Trades Intensifies", Los Angeles Times, May 29, 2002
Aspects of environmentalism have long been criticized as using ostensible concerns about nature to serve private purposes such as property values.
-- Gregg Easterbrook, "The case for sprawl", The New Republic, March 15, 1999
After an epidemic of yellow fever in 1798, in which coffins had been sold by itinerant vendors on street corners, Burr established the Manhattan Company, with the ostensible aim of bringing clean water to the city from the Bronx River but in fact designed as a front for the creation of New York's second bank, rivalling Hamilton's Bank of New York.
-- "Soaking the poor", The Economist, March 16, 2000
We might define play as pleasurable activity in which the means is more important than the ostensible end.
-- Karl Meninger, Love Against Hate
Ostensible comes from Medieval Latin ostensibilis, from the Latin verb ostendere, "to show," and is related to ostentatious, "showy."