appearance


appearance
appearance, look, aspect, semblance denote the outward show presented by a person or thing.
Appearance often carries no additional implications
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judge not according to the appearanceJn 7:24

}
{

in drawing, represent the appearances of things, never what you know the things to be— Ruskin

}
The word, however, frequently implies an apparent as opposed to an actual or genuine character and therefore often connotes hypocrisy, dissembling, or pretense when used of persons or their actions
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to be able to tyrannize effectively they needed the title and appearance of constitutional authority— Huxley

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they spent their lives trying to keep up appearances, and to make his salary do more than it could— Cather

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Look is often indistinguishable from appearance except that it more often occurs in the plural
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never judge a thing merely by its looks

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They are not interchangeable, however, in all instances. When a personal impression or a judgment is implied, appearance is the precise word
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Aristotle . . . while admitting that Plato’s scheme has a plausible appearance of philanthropy, maintains that it is inapplicable to the facts of human nature— Dickinson

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When the emphasis is upon concrete details (as of color, shape, or expression) observable to everybody, look is a better choice
{

he had the look of a man who works indoors and takes little exercise

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I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their good intellects— Wilde

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Specifically look is often applied to a person’s expression as manifest in his face or posture
{

she had a look about her that I wish I could forget —the look of a scared thing sitting in a net!— Millay

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Aspect, like look, stresses the features of a person or thing but when applied to persons, it usually distinctively suggests the characteristic or habitual appearance and expression, especially facial expression
{

not risking a landing because of the fierce aspect of the natives— Heiser

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{

he was a very handsome man, of a commanding aspectAusten

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Aspect often specifically implies reference to a facet or to the features that give something (as a place, an age, or a situation) its peculiar or distinctive character
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the aspect of affairs was very alarming— Dickens

}
{

fifty years from now, it may be, the olive tree will almost have disappeared from southern France, and Provence will wear another aspectHuxley

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democracy . . . has different aspects in different lands— Sulzberger

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Semblance basically implies outward seeming without necessarily suggesting a false appearance
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it is the semblance which interests the painter, not the actual object— Times Lit. Sup.

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Nevertheless it is rarely used in this sense without an expressed or implied contrast between the outward appearance and the inner reality
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thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie thy soul’s immensity— Wordsworth

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Sometimes, however, the word stresses the likeness of the thing to something else without suggesting deceptiveness in the appearance
{

a piked road that even then had begun to take on the semblance of a street— Anderson

}

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • appearance — ap·pear·ance n 1: the presentation of oneself in court as a party to or as an attorney for a party to a lawsuit; also: a document filed in court by an attorney declaring his or her representation of a party to a lawsuit see also general… …   Law dictionary

  • Appearance — Ap*pear ance, n. [F. apparence, L. apparentia, fr. apparere. See {Appear}.] 1. The act of appearing or coming into sight; the act of becoming visible to the eye; as, his sudden appearance surprised me. [1913 Webster] 2. A thing seed; a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Appearance — may refer to:* In physiognomy, Human physical appearance. * The visual appearance of objects is given by the way in which they reflect and transmit light. The color of objects is determined by the parts of the spectrum of light that are reflected …   Wikipedia

  • appearance — [ə pir′əns] n. [ME aparaunce < OFr aparance < LL apparentia < apparere, APPEAR] 1. the act or an instance of appearing 2. the look or outward aspect of a person or thing 3. anything that appears; thing seen 4. Archaic an apparition 5 …   English World dictionary

  • appearance — [n1] coming into sight actualization, advent, appearing, arrival, coming, debut, display, emergence, entrance, exhibition, introduction, manifestation, materialization, presence, presentation, representation, rise, showing up, turning up,… …   New thesaurus

  • appearance — (n.) late 14c., visible state or form, figure; mere show, from Anglo Fr. apparaunce, O.Fr. aparance appearance, display, pomp (13c.), from L. apparentia, abstract noun from aparentem, pp. of apparere (see APPEAR (Cf. appear)). Meaning semblance… …   Etymology dictionary

  • appearance — The act of showing up in Court as either plaintiff, defendant, accused, or any other party to a Court (Dictionary of Canadian Bankruptcy Terms) United Glossary of Bankruptcy Terms 2012 …   Glossary of Bankruptcy

  • appearance — ► NOUN 1) the way that someone or something looks or seems. 2) an act of appearing. ● keep up appearances Cf. ↑keep up appearances …   English terms dictionary

  • appearance — ap|pear|ance W2 [əˈpıərəns US əˈpır ] n ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(way somebody/something looks)¦ 2¦(somebody takes part in a public event)¦ 3¦(something new starts to exist)¦ 4¦(arrival)¦ 5 keep up appearances 6 for appearances sake/for the sake of appearances… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • appearance — noun 1 way that sb/sth looks ADJECTIVE ▪ attractive, handsome, youthful ▪ distinctive, odd, strange, striking ▪ dishevelled/disheveled …   Collocations dictionary


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