Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

appearance - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun     appearance pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    [countable/uncountable] the way that someone or something looks

    His thinning hair gave him the appearance of a much older man.

    Recent initiatives have done a lot to improve the appearance of the district.

    The twins are almost identical in appearance.

    1. a.
      the way that someone or something looks, when this is different from the way it really is

      He doesn’t look well off, but you shouldn’t judge by appearances.

      give the appearance of (doing) something:

      He had always given the appearance of agreeing with her ideas.

      to/by all appearances (=based on the way a situation seems):

      She was, to all appearances, enjoying the challenges of the new job.

  2. 2
    [uncountable] the time when something starts to exist or be seen

    The disease is contagious only before the appearance of its initial symptoms.

    1. a.
      the fact of someone appearing, especially when you do not expect them

      Julie’s sudden appearance in the doorway startled me.

  3. 3
    [countable] an occasion when you are on television or in a play, movie, concert, etc.

    a public appearance

    make an appearance:

    She has made numerous appearances on TV game shows.

  4. 4
    [countable] an occasion when you go to a court of law, committee, or similar institution so that people can ask you questions and make decisions about you

    He has had 14 other court appearances.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter


to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play