Definition of appearance in US English:



  • 1The way that someone or something looks.

    ‘I like the appearance of stripped antique pine’
    ‘they are similar in appearance’
    • ‘Simple in appearance and designed to be functional, the very first fabric awnings were only installed when and where they were needed.’
    • ‘The degradation may have been seen visually as a change in appearance (colour, aggregation, odour).’
    • ‘Construction is slipshod, somehow temporary in appearance.’
    • ‘It was almost diamond shaped in appearance, but had many sides and the top and bottom were longer and pointed.’
    • ‘This car is powerfully designed and breathtaking in appearance.’
    • ‘He is tanned in appearance and has slightly long, dark hair.’
    • ‘This service method is neat in appearance, sanitary, healthy, and moves the buffet line in a timely manner.’
    • ‘If done well, and if the old landscaping was getting shabby, the improvement in appearance can have a large impact on the resale value of the house.’
    • ‘Over the last fifteen years the quality of stock cabinets has vastly improved in appearance, detailing and durability.’
    • ‘It is simple in appearance, tasteful in design, short on text and decked out with color photographs.’
    • ‘Success led to an order for three more cars, similar in appearance, but designed for fast services on cross-country routes.’
    • ‘Japanese marbling patterns were delicate and smoke-like in appearance.’
    • ‘The ejecta blanket hits at a parabolic shape, similar in appearance to the dark parabolas seen around impact craters on Venus.’
    • ‘Many of the attendees appeared rather youthful in appearance.’
    • ‘I think there is a 90 per cent improvement in appearance and 10 per cent improvement in substance.’
    • ‘It is elegant in appearance, and exactly designed after early eighteenth-century German models.’
    • ‘One claimed residents, some of the most desperate of the homeless on the city streets, have already noticeably improved in appearance and health.’
    • ‘For it is the cinematic equivalent of a battery-farmed egg: not exactly rotten, but surrounded by dozens of others just like it in appearance, shape and taste.’
    • ‘Initial improvements in appearance are promising, but data on long term outcome are not yet available.’
    • ‘However, up to one in 20 women are left with red, thick or painful scars that can takes years to improve in appearance.’
    look, looks, air, aspect, mien, outward form
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    1. 1.1 An impression given by someone or something, although this may be misleading.
      ‘she read it with every appearance of interest’
      • ‘If the last twenty-five years had taught him anything it was that outward appearances were wholly untrustworthy.’
      • ‘To all outward appearances, her sister and brother-in-law treated her well; they were affectionate with her.’
      • ‘But take the time to talk to him and you realise just how deceptive outward appearances can be.’
      • ‘The other is that, when it comes to assessing the behaviour of princes, even the shrewdest observers are largely condemned to judge by appearances.’
      • ‘It is often said that one should not judge by appearances and I whole-heartedly agree.’
      • ‘To all outward appearances the shop-keeper was unaffected by the incident.’
      • ‘His appearance is of interest for his fans but it is not of importance.’
      • ‘While most shoppers are well dressed and have an affluent appearance about them, you get the impression that the country's rising tide has not lifted all boats.’
      • ‘The ugliness we sometimes encounter transcends outward appearances.’
      • ‘The fact that this offender was to outward appearances, a devoted minister to his adult parishioners is admirable.’
      • ‘Don't judge by appearances, these can be deceiving, follow your heart and you cannot go far wrong!’
      • ‘It was sad to see that the government is more interested in politics and appearances than in doing the right thing.’
      • ‘It is dangerous to make assumptions based on outward appearances.’
      • ‘How can we be putting all this work into appearances when appearances bear no necessary relation to intent?’
      • ‘‘They give the appearance of legal process without any substance,’ he continues.’
      • ‘To all outward appearances, he appeared to settle into a post-band life of a cafe owner and general multi-media personality.’
      • ‘And because most people tend to judge by outward appearances, it's relatively easy to fool them.’
      • ‘Its impressive external appearance was merely a façade for corruption.’
      • ‘In the interest of maintaining the appearance of neutrality, there would be no speakers with any obvious political party affiliation.’
      • ‘I was a first year medical student when I first realized that outward appearances occasionally belie the truth.’
      impression, air, show, outward show, image
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  • 2An act of performing or participating in a public event.

    ‘he is well-known for his television appearances’
    • ‘Performances have also included appearances on both the big and the small screen.’
    • ‘He has made several television appearances and has been a regular performer in recent years at the National Concert Hall, Dublin.’
    • ‘In 1818 his orchestral compositions began to make occasional appearances at public concerts.’
    • ‘It's just about what happens in the studio or in public appearances.’
    • ‘This episode was enacted by performers who makes rare appearances in films.’
    • ‘If only the script and performances were as impressive as the guest appearances.’
    • ‘And with more TV appearances likely, it appears the runaway bride is not going away any time soon.’
    • ‘Yet there was the Queen of spin herself, backing the party's credentials by making a cameo appearance on our television screens dressed as a tea lady.’
    • ‘His plans include satisfying the public's desire to see the car by allowing it to make appearances at events and shows throughout the UK.’
    • ‘Television appearances, charity events and photo-shoots have often crowded her schedule.’
    • ‘There have been few public appearances and no address to the nation on state television.’
    • ‘Granted, security is a big concern whenever the president makes a public appearance.’
    • ‘His public appearances are often jobs for the riot squads.’
    • ‘Like it or not, his role requires some public appearances at important events.’
    • ‘Since then she has been making regular television and radio appearances and is regularly hired for public speaking.’
    • ‘His list of film appearances and co-stars is impressive.’
    • ‘The pair are rarely pictured together and avoid joint appearances at public events.’
    • ‘Personally, I did a lot of public appearances at the weekends.’
    • ‘In the offseason, you have some time for public appearances and some endorsement-type situations.’
    • ‘In fact, he has supplemented his income by making appearances where he performed magic tricks.’
  • 3usually in singular An act of becoming visible or noticeable; an arrival.

    ‘the sudden appearance of her daughter startled her’
    • ‘His sudden appearances, like the one today, prompted her to accuse him on stalking.’
    • ‘The whole scene of a sudden appearance of people had obviously been witnessed by quite a few others.’
    • ‘Max opened his mouth to try to smooth it over, but was cut off by the sudden appearance of five burly men blowing through the door to his right, obviously on their way out.’
    • ‘One jarring element was the sudden appearance of guns towards the end of the play, when previously swords were the order of the day.’
    • ‘Many were killed because a rope might break or because a climber could be startled by the sudden appearance of a furious bird.’
    • ‘The only fun she had that day was running through the newsroom, startling my colleagues with her sudden appearance at their desks.’
    • ‘The disguise serves him while extorting information from a bank officer, then he uses it to deceive his nemesis if he puts in a sudden appearance.’
    • ‘Kat hadn't realized that she had arrived home, and was shocked at her sudden appearance.’
    • ‘There were previously unheard of projects and homework that made a sudden appearance this morning.’
    • ‘In our sleepy little town where things moved with the soporific gait of undersea vegetation, high fashion made its startling appearance all of a sudden!’
    • ‘I asked with as nonchalant a tone as I could muster, as he jumped angrily at my sudden appearance.’
    • ‘The life of two brothers is shattered by the sudden appearance of their father, who they know only from a 10-year-old photograph.’
    • ‘The sudden appearance of a foot in front of my face pulled a scream from my throat and the raiders wasted no time in grabbing me and dragging me into the open.’
    • ‘Her overly cool voice sailed into the kitchen, announcing her appearance moments before she arrived.’
    • ‘Her eyes opened at this statement, and her beautiful smile made a sudden appearance.’
    • ‘The house has sparked to life with the sudden appearance of Graham, home on an impromptu break.’
    • ‘The lack of, and in certain cases, the complete absence of gender equality in our own homes makes its visible appearance in our daily routine.’
    • ‘After the deed is done, the time has arrived for the appearance of the detective.’
    • ‘It wasn't the sudden appearance of the cliff, just the fact of being lost.’
    • ‘Groupers hurried away to dark corners and a map angelfish put in a sudden appearance from behind a winch.’
    arrival, advent, coming, coming into view, emergence, materialization, surfacing
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    1. 3.1 A process of coming into existence or use.
      ‘the appearance of the railroad’
      • ‘Now the appearance of colour-screen mobile phones has raised new tasks for them.’
      • ‘Such a system appears to have come into existence only after the Mississippian emergence and the appearance of chiefs.’
      • ‘Abnormal desquamation results in the appearance of visible scales associated with many pathologic skin conditions.’
      • ‘As we age, we most often gauge this process by the appearance of fine and deep wrinkles.’
      • ‘It is difficult to reconstruct in their fullness the ways of light in bazaars before the appearance of electricity.’
      • ‘If such laws do exist they indicate something of profound significance - the existence of a logic beyond the material appearance of the Universe.’
      • ‘From the very beginnings of life in the sea - the mollusks and trilobites - to the appearance of vertebrates, the author sets the stage for the evolution of sea creatures to land animals, tracing the development of fins to limbs, fish to amphibians and reptiles.’
      • ‘This constellation represents the sudden appearance of the earth-born giant Typhoeus.’
      • ‘The sudden appearance of an array of conservative politicians on the advisory panels is worrisome.’
      • ‘So the appearance of the dinosaurs cannot be a direct result of all these extinctions.’
      • ‘The first stage of the healing process is the appearance of the sickness.’
      occurrence, manifestation, development
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  • keep up appearances

    • Maintain an impression of wealth or well-being, typically to hide the true situation.

      • ‘It is crumbling, but the screen keeps up appearances.’
      • ‘The only thing expressed in this election was a cry for help from a confused and lost nation, desperate to keep up appearances.’
      • ‘We keep up appearances and avoid what might lead to conflict.’
      • ‘With an overriding mood of boredom, the boys and girls are almost totally incapable of talking to one another, and all their parents worry about is keeping up appearances.’
      • ‘It's the diplomatic version of distressed gentlefolk keeping up appearances, making ourselves ridiculous and obnoxious to our real equals, the other Europeans.’
      • ‘It's clear now that these and other types in investment knew what was up, and it was in their best interests to keep up appearances, so they could clean up and get out in time.’
      • ‘My parents, brothers, and sisters would be here, so we had to keep up appearances.’
      • ‘They despise each other, but of course must keep up appearances in front of the sensitive young mistress.’
      • ‘An example of a bad peace is keeping up appearances, pretending that everything is fine, when the truth is that it is not.’
      • ‘I hated that I was so worried about keeping up appearances with these people that I was lying to myself.’
  • make (or put in) an appearance

    • Attend an event briefly, typically out of courtesy.

      • ‘It's only for the children who attend the playschool and Santa is to put in an appearance there also.’
      • ‘Frogs and herons also made an appearance and in spring the otters appeared.’
      • ‘Even the local police put in an appearance, arriving to investigate a bogus complaint about the noise.’
      • ‘The tame bald eagle, brought in for truly patriotic events, made an appearance.’
      • ‘With a host of promising new drivers making an appearance and some marvellous machinery on view, the event seems set for a successful summer.’
      • ‘These often put in an appearance in late summer, and no matter how many times you've seen one, it remains an incredible buzz.’
      • ‘However, with the crowd reassured that both players would make an appearance on the pitch during the changeover, play got underway.’
      • ‘Experience has shown that, if a drug is available in Britain, it's only a matter of time before it puts in an appearance here.’
      • ‘Though he failed to make an appearance on that occasion, it can only be a matter of time before he makes his international debut.’
      • ‘It also involves casual activities such as going on a sight-seeing trip or making an appearance at an event - all of which take place in public view and therefore can be easily remembered.’
      arrive, turn up, put in an appearance, make an appearance, come, get here, get there, present oneself
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  • to (or by) all appearances

    • As far as can be seen.

      ‘to all appearances, it had been a normal day’
      • ‘So the moral dilemma: do I pay money to find out for myself, thus lining the pockets of someone who has, to all appearances, committed massive scholarly fraud, or do I paddle along in ignorance?’
      • ‘Southeastern Manitoba - by all appearances - is unique.’
      • ‘Now such statements are apparently unconfirmable - to all appearances there is no possible evidence of observation which would count for or against them.’
      • ‘Although this doesn't make it big by reservoir standards, it does have a serious almost marine feel especially as you park on the beach-like foreshore and the band of shingle has, to all appearances, tidemarks of debris.’
      • ‘At this late date most of the bands are just being cute for its own sake, writing still more songs about having crushes on one another, or deciding, to all appearances, that writing decent songs is no longer even necessary.’
      • ‘A CEO who talks about himself in the third person and who is, to all appearances, a lunatic is not likely to be a very effective leader.’
      • ‘But why the police threatened to arrest a group that, by all appearances, was following the rules, remains unanswered.’
      • ‘That must be the thinking at another bar I was in - suddenly they're everywhere - that has an enclosed but, to all appearances, unventilated ‘smoking lounge.’’
      • ‘I can think of a dozen equivalent risks faced by emergency planners that by all appearances still do not occupy the minds of these savants of hind-sight.’
      • ‘I had a similar experience once, finding chunks of an article of mine turning up unattributed, and to all appearances as out of the author's own mouth, in a book I was reading for review.’
      outwardly, externally, on the outside, on the surface, superficially, on the face of it, at first glance, at first sight, to the casual eye, to the casual observer, as far as one can judge, as far as one can see, as far as one can tell, to all intents and purposes, apparently, ostensibly, seemingly, evidently
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Late Middle English: from Old French aparance, aparence, from late Latin apparentia, from Latin apparere (see appear).