Definition of seem in English:



[no object]
  • 1Give the impression of being something or having a particular quality.

    with complement ‘Dawn seemed annoyed’
    ‘it seemed a dismal town’
    with infinitive ‘there seems to be plenty to eat’
    with clause ‘it seemed that he was determined to oppose her’
    • ‘Now, he seemed almost on the verge of tears, though Reana could only guess why.’
    • ‘I realize my condemnation of male diner culture may seem a tad harsh.’
    • ‘Still, calling the other lists whimsical seems a tad unfair.’
    • ‘Nobody else seems to notice, except perhaps Barry, who simply wants to be left alone.’
    • ‘While such an argument seems counterintuitive at first, it does have some grounding in evolutionary biology.’
    • ‘She also seems more at ease than ever while delivering her songs.’
    • ‘Nobody else seems very interested, but I think it looks great!’
    • ‘For what seemed like an eternity, they squirmed in their chairs, speechless.’
    • ‘He looked at Gabriel, who almost seemed on the verge of tears.’
    • ‘After what seems like an eternity, we finally make it to the entrance.’
    • ‘Having decided to gift it to the nation, she seems somewhat miffed that nobody now seems to want it.’
    • ‘At first sight, the statements issued by the major churches might seem surprising.’
    • ‘Although this argument seems plausible, the evidence quoted in its support does not withstand critical examination.’
    • ‘Burton's flair for image seems always at odds with the story at hand.’
    • ‘Some things seem destined for repeat discovery until the results are finally taken seriously.’
    • ‘Therefore, it seems somehow a bit excessive to single him out for this sort of treatment.’
    • ‘His master's voice seems unlikely to wake him.’
    • ‘I know it seems surprising, but I have never ever had a boyfriend.’
    • ‘I might get discouraged but you guys don't seem to care.’
    • ‘The administration seems somewhat oblivious to the resultant dangers.’
    appear, appear to be, have the air of being, have the appearance of being, give the impression of being, look, look like, look as though one is, look to be, have the look of, show signs of
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with infinitive Used to make a statement less forceful.
      ‘I seem to remember giving you very precise instructions’
    2. 1.2it seems" or "it would seemwith clause Used to suggest in a cautious or polite way that something is the case.
      ‘it would seem that he has been fooling us all’
      • ‘It seems to me that what the citizens want will most definitely not be what we get.’
      • ‘On the face of it, it would seem that Canadian society is moving in a positive direction.’
      • ‘Well, it seems we are going to hear rather less of this stuff over the coming weeks.’
      • ‘Colleges and universities have come a long way from discussing beauty it would seem.’
      • ‘In fact, it would seem that investigative journalism in the media is no longer the norm.’
      • ‘It seems that the media training he is said to have had over the summer has had a positive effect.’
      • ‘Roy's save was probably the best action on the pitch, though not, it would seem, of the afternoon.’
      • ‘So the sooner these countries are brought under the one umbrella the better, it would seem.’
      • ‘Alas, unless the place is being refurbished, it would seem that Porter Black's is no more.’
      • ‘On the basis of this evidence, it would seem that the battle against it is lost!’
      • ‘You and your husband need to sit down and talk about your problems - at some length, it would seem.’
      • ‘What is it in a country like this where we have everything, it would seem, at our fingertips?’
      • ‘In such a situation, it would seem that people do not have a real choice in our democracy.’
      • ‘Edward is a perpetual student, it would seem, born in the year of the rooster!’
      • ‘It seems that there are people here who are cutting off their noses to spite their faces.’
      • ‘More weight is given to politics than poetry, history or writing, it would seem.’
      • ‘Superficially it would seem to have very little to do with an historic attack on Greece over a millennium before!’
      • ‘Yet, it would seem that we are going to have a war whether we want it or not.’
      • ‘There is no redemption from punishment as rigid as this, it would seem, only escalation.’
      • ‘Trying to get anywhere in this day and age, it seems, is just too fraught with danger.’
  • 2cannot seem to do somethingBe unable to do something, despite having tried.

    ‘he couldn't seem to remember his lines’
    • ‘She fidgeted with her necklace, and couldn't seem to decide where to look.’
    • ‘I cannot seem to achieve anything if I don't have a deadline with a date and a fixed hour, looming over my head.’
    • ‘Try though I might, there are some people whose motivations, whose hardwiring one might say, I cannot seem to figure out.’
    • ‘I just couldn't seem to get a hold on my emotions - and this was before I found out about the earthquake.’
    • ‘I would have had more time to socialise but I started playing pool and by some fluke couldn't seem to put a ball wrong.’
    • ‘This act made me cry instantly and I cannot seem to get over the fact that someone would have taken these things.’
    • ‘I have been drinking cranberry juice, but I cannot seem to break the cycle of reinfection.’
    • ‘I just cannot seem to get the ‘tick’ and the ‘tock’ in beat - the intervals between them have to be exactly the same.’
    • ‘I cannot seem to connect with my machine right now.’
    • ‘You spend far more time alone than you would like to and cannot seem to change this’
    • ‘One of the emotions that some people cannot seem to manage is anger.’
    • ‘The truly odd thing is that, despite everything, the people who buy the season tickets cannot seem to get the truth into their heads.’
    • ‘Despite pre-tournament warnings the game cannot seem to rid itself of diving and there was a surfeit of the antic throughout the competition.’
    • ‘Above all, I find it very hard just to blame the player when his own manager cannot seem to grasp what the fuss might be about.’
    • ‘Some words cannot seem to escape their associated stereotypes.’
    • ‘Guess which is the one which I cannot seem to face?’
    • ‘The schoolgirl said she had been scared and had wanted to cry out but she couldn't seem to find her voice.’
    • ‘The problem was that they just couldn't seem to apply any sustained pressure.’
    • ‘You go through the same emotions and questions over and over, and talk with your friends about the same topics because you cannot seem to make a decision.’
    • ‘I cannot seem to find out any other information about this change.’


Middle English (also in the sense ‘suit, befit, be appropriate’): from Old Norse sœma ‘to honour’, from sœmr ‘fitting’.