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

  • adj. Represented or appearing as such; ostensive: His ostensible purpose was charity, but his real goal was popularity.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. meant for open display; apparent
  • adj. alleged, having an intention that is possibly but not obviously true

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Capable of being shown; proper or intended to be shown.
  • adj. Outwardly appearing to be; shown to be; exhibited; apparent; evident.
  • adj. Declared; avowed; professed; pretended; -- often used as opposed to real or actual.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Put forth or held out as real, actual, or intended; apparent; professed: as, a person's ostensible reason or motive for doing something.
  • Capable of being shown; that may be shown; proper or intended to be shown.

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

  • adj. appearing as such but not necessarily so
  • adj. represented or appearing as such; pretended


French, from Medieval Latin ostēnsibilis, from Latin ostēnsus, past participle of ostendere, to show : ob-, ob- + tendere, to stretch; see ten- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French, from Latin ostensus, past participle of ostendō ("show"), itself from obs- ("in front of") (akin to ob- ("in the way") and to Greek ἐπί (epi, "on, at, besides, after") and Old English eofot ("crime")) + tendō ("stretch") (Greek τείνω (teinō)) (Wiktionary)



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