• Appear


    • RP IPA: /əˈpɪə/
    • GenAm IPA: /əˈpiɹ/
    • Rhymes: -ɪə(r)


    From Middle English apperen, aperen, from Old French aparoir (French apparoir, apparaître), from Latin apparēre ("to appear"), from ad ("to") + parēre ("come forth, to be visible").

    Full definition of appear


    1. (intransitive) To come or be in sight; to be in view; to become visible.
      • 1611, Genesis 1:9:And God...said, Let...the dry land appear.
      • 2012, Jeremy Bernstein, A Palette of Particles, There were also particles no one had predicted that just appeared. Five of them in order of increasing modernity, are the neutrino, the pi meson, the antiproton, the quark and the Higgs boson.
    2. (intransitive) To come before the public.
      • 1905, w, w:The Case of Miss Elliott Chapter 2, Miss Phyllis Morgan, as the hapless heroine dressed in the shabbiest of clothes, appears in the midst of a gay and giddy throng; she apostrophises all and sundry there, including the villain, and has a magnificent scene which always brings down the house, and nightly adds to her histrionic laurels.
    3. A great writer appeared at that time.
    4. (intransitive) To stand in presence of some authority, tribunal, or superior person, to answer a charge, plead a cause, or the like; to present one's self as a party or advocate before a court, or as a person to be tried.
      • 1611, 2 Corinthians 5:10:We must all appear before the judgment seat.
      • unknown date Thomas Babington Macaulay:One ruffian escaped because no prosecutor dared to appear.
    5. (intransitive) To become visible to the apprehension of the mind; to be known as a subject of observation or comprehension, or as a thing proved; to be obvious or manifest.
      • 1611, 1 John 3:2:It doth not yet appear what we shall be.
      • unknown date John Milton:Of their vain contest appeared no end.
      • 1963, Margery Allingham, The China Governess Chapter 18, ‘Then the father has a great fight with his terrible conscience,’ said Munday with granite seriousness. ‘Should he make a row with the police ?  Or should he say nothing about it and condone brutality for fear of appearing in the newspapers?
      • 2013, Philip J. Bushnell, Solvents, Ethanol, Car Crashes & Tolerance, Surprisingly, this analysis revealed that acute exposure to solvent vapors at concentrations below those associated with long-term effects appears to increase the risk of a fatal automobile accident. Furthermore, this increase in risk is comparable to the risk of death from leukemia after long-term exposure to benzene,....
    6. (intransitive, copulative) To seem; to have a certain semblance; to look.
      • 1611, Matthew 6:16:They disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast.
      • 1963, Margery Allingham, The China Governess Chapter 5, Mr. Campion appeared suitably impressed and she warmed to him. He was very easy to talk to with those long clown lines in his pale face, a natural goon, born rather too early she suspected.
    7. He appeared quite happy with the result.

    Usage notes

    Senses 4, 5. This is a catenative verb that takes the to infinitive. See



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