from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Readily seen; visible.
  • adj. Readily understood; clear or obvious.
  • adj. Appearing as such but not necessarily so; seeming: an apparent advantage.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Capable of being seen, or easily seen; open to view; visible to the eye; within sight or view.
  • adj. Clear or manifest to the understanding; plain; evident; obvious; known; palpable; indubitable.
  • adj. Appearing to the eye or mind (distinguished from, but not necessarily opposed to, true or real); seeming.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Capable of being seen, or easily seen; open to view; visible to the eye; within sight or view.
  • adj. Clear or manifest to the understanding; plain; evident; obvious; known; palpable; indubitable.
  • adj. Appearing to the eye or mind (distinguished from, but not necessarily opposed to, true or real); seeming; as the apparent motion or diameter of the sun.
  • n. An heir apparent.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Exposed to the sense of sight; open to view; capable of being seen, or easily seen; visible to the eye; within the range of vision.
  • Capable of being clearly perceived or understood; obvious; plain or clear; evident: as, the wisdom of the Creator is apparent in his works.
  • Having the character of a mere seeming or appearance, in distinction from what is true or real: as, the apparent motion of the sun; his anger was only apparent.
  • Probable; likely: as, “the three apparent candidates,” H. Walpole.
  • n. An heir apparent.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. appearing as such but not necessarily so
  • adj. clearly revealed to the mind or the senses or judgment


Middle English, from Old French aparant, present participle of aparoir, to appear; see appear.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French apparent, in turn from Latin apparens/-entis, present participle of appareo. (Wiktionary)


  • What they will do first is send a letter to each of those CEOs asking them to explain what they call apparent discrepancies.

    CNN Transcript Nov 16, 2005

  • The United Democratic Movement (UDM) on Friday said it was dismayed by what it termed the apparent negligence and poor police work in the Justice Department.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • Instances are easily producible of that extreme contrariety of ideas, one with another, which the contemplation of the Universe forces upon our acceptance, making it clear to us that there is nothing irrational in submitting to undeniable incompatibilities, which we call apparent, only because, if they were not apparent but real, they could not co-exist.

    The Idea of a University Defined and Illustrated: In Nine Discourses Delivered to the Catholics of Dublin

  • Human Rights Watch called for an investigation of what it described as an "apparent mass execution." News

  • Reuters has noted what it called the apparent contradiction between the earlier and later reports.

    BBC News - Home

  • When word of the new romance got out, some media observers joked about what they called his apparent obsession with glamorous young TV reporters. - News

  • Violanti tried to get Boller to either give Crawford only weekends in jail or delay her jailing, but the judge had her taken into custody in his Buffalo courtroom, citing what he called her apparent lack of honesty in coming to grips with her drinking problems.

    buffalonews - Home

  • UNITED NATIONS - A U.N. sanctions committee expressed "grave concern" Thursday about what it called apparent Iranian violations of a U.N. ban on uranium enrichment plant as world powers united against - Articles related to EU, US back new Iran nuclear sanctions

  • Rcfleftion (the Texture only modifies it) as to be an occafion of fucli a Sentiment; in this fenfe all Colours are real, even thofe which they call apparent, or elfe how come they to appear?

    An Essay Towards the Theory of the Ideal Or Intelligible World. Design'd for ...

  • This is in reaction to coy definition mongering by those who recognize the design and call it "apparent" or say that it is created by chance.

    Bunny and a Book


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • The question is: to what extent can we trust appearances? "His wealth was apparent" means that there was visible evidence of his wealth. In "Despite his apparent wealth, he always complained about how much everything cost," the meaning is the same: "despite the visible evidence of his wealth...". The words blatant, obvious, conspicuous, evident, apparent, seeming, superficial, etc. all denote pretty much the same thing: the quality of being perceptible; the difference between them is the degree to which the speaker trusts that what is perceived in fact corresponds to reality. In the order I have listed these words, the attitude of the speaker goes from unquestioning trust (if we say something is blatant, we don't doubt what we see) to total skepticism.

    November 27, 2008

  • In a predicative position, I think "obvious" is the more likely meaning, and contexts are typically things like 'The reason is apparent'. When you qualify it with 'only', or contrast it with 'real' ('What is apparent is not always real') you force it into the "seeming" meaning.

    November 27, 2008

  • I think skipvia's comment is an example of what I want to ask here:
    Is the use of apparent sensu WordNet #1 (see also citation on elbow) clear to a listener? Or will he/she think that I mean as far as I can judge?

    "The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language" states:
    Used before a noun, apparent means "seeming": For all his apparent wealth, Pat had no money to pay the rent. Used after a form of the verb be, however, apparent can mean either "seeming" (as in His virtues are only apparent) or "obvious" (as in The effects of the drought are apparent to anyone who sees the parched fields). One should take care that the intended meaning is clear from the context.

    November 27, 2008

  • Good point skip.

    June 2, 2008

  • I think it takes one lawyer. Never mind the number of victims. :-\

    March 5, 2008

  • "Police were trying Tuesday to piece together the violent events inside a brick home where six people were found dead in an apparent mass shooting."

    How many victims does it take to make it an obvious mass shooting?

    March 5, 2008