Definition of semblance in US English:



  • 1The outward appearance or apparent form of something, especially when the reality is different.

    ‘she tried to force her thoughts back into some semblance of order’
    • ‘These Mucks also have semblances of arms, although they are probably useless.’
    • ‘The donors may enjoy better control over the economic affairs of the country in the absence of any semblance of fiscal system.’
    • ‘Braugher is the only one who appears to have a semblance of dignity.’
    • ‘He is trying to hold onto the last semblances of honor.’
    • ‘The only option left now for the devastated Democratic party is to rally together and show some semblance of a united front.’
    • ‘Like anything else of importance (goodness, understanding, God), adoration (or love, as we might as well call it) is plagued by false semblances.’
    • ‘But the bigger the budget, the less control for the auteur - and the fainter any semblance of reality.’
    • ‘We get no closer to any semblance of truth, or any semblance of an idea of the best possible way forward.’
    • ‘The trick here is meticulous preparation in order to avoid the intrusion of any semblance of reality.’
    • ‘Such distance is based on the insight that all of the upheaval is ultimately just a non-substantial proliferation of semblances that do not really concern the innermost kernel of our being.’
    • ‘To ordinary perception it seems full of characters and objects, all the semblances of a world.’
    • ‘Can amnesia run so deeply as to eliminate all traces of any sort of memories, semblances thereof, or feelings thereof?’
    • ‘Maybe a nice shot of single malt medicine would bring them back to some semblance of reality.’
    • ‘It was one long string of notes, connected not in harmony or key, but with semblances of consistency that emerge in rhythm and timbre.’
    • ‘Still, the Raiders have to generate some semblance of pressure with their front four.’
    • ‘The distorted semblances of the trees on the other side were vaguely visible through it, mocking him cruelly in the emptiness.’
    • ‘He knows them to be vidharma, anti-religious movements, chala-dharma, false religion, or dharmabhasa, mere semblances of religion.’
    • ‘Change produces anxiety - especially a postmodern change in which all semblances of certainty have been removed.’
    • ‘In some of the sculptures Holley is more explicitly figurative, bending wires into semblances of human profiles or, in at least one case, painting a head on an assemblage element.’
    • ‘Truly dramatic explanations must, however, bear some semblance of reality.’
    appearance, outward appearance, approximation, show, air, guise, pretence, facade, front, veneer
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    1. 1.1archaic Resemblance; similarity.
      ‘it bears some semblance to the thing I have in mind’
      • ‘At that phase, some of his works had some semblance to nature, like the barks of trees or a rocky landscape.’
      • ‘Obviously the Napster that return today has no semblance to the original: bar the logo and the name.’
      • ‘It isn't until she starts in with lyrics that any semblance to the original recording manifests.’
      • ‘To some observers in the office she bore only a vague semblance to the miniature Aussie singer.’
      • ‘All semblances to actual persons or events, living or dead, is frankly impossible, but if there is a resemblance then it is either accidental, or a lampoon, and in either case you can't prove it so don't bother suing me.’
      resemblance, likeness, sameness, similar nature, similitude, comparability, correspondence, comparison, analogy, parallel, parallelism, equivalence
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Middle English: from Old French, from sembler ‘seem’, from Latin similare, simulare ‘simulate’.