Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To give the impression of being in a certain way; appear to be.
  • intransitive verb Used to call attention to one's impression or understanding about something, especially in weakening the force of a following infinitive.
  • intransitive verb To appear to be probable or evident.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To be fit or suitable.
  • To appear; have or present an appearance of being; appear to be; look or look like; in a restricted sense, be in appearance or as regards appearance only.
  • To appear; be seen; show one's self or itself; hence, to assume an air; pretend.
  • In an impersonal reflexive use, to appear: with the person in the dative, later apparently in the nominative as the quasi-subject of seem in the sense of ‘think, consider’: as, me seem, him seemed, they seemed, the people seemed, it seems to me, it seemed to him, them, or the people (meseems being often written as a single word).
  • To appear to one's self; imagine; feel as if: as, I still seem to hear his voice; he still seemed to feel the motion of the vessel.
  • Synonyms Seem, Look, Appear. Look differs from seem only in more vividly suggesting the use of the eye, literally or figuratively: as, it looks (or seems) right. Appear is somewhat stronger, having sometimes the sense of coming into view or coming to seem. Each may stand for that which is probably true, or in opposition to that which is true: not to seem, but to be; the seeming and the real. Should seem and would seem are equally correct, but differ in strength. To say that a thing should seem to be true is to say that it ought to seem so or almost necessarily seems so; to say that it would seem true is to say that, while there are reasons for holding an opposite view, the preponderance of evidence is on the side of its being true.
  • To become; beseem; befit; be fit, suitable, or proper for.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To appear, or to appear to be; to have a show or semblance; to present an appearance; to look; to strike one's apprehension or fancy as being; to be taken as.
  • intransitive verb it appears; it is understood as true; it is said.
  • transitive verb obsolete To befit; to beseem.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb copulative To appear; to look outwardly; to be perceived as.
  • verb obsolete To befit; to beseem.

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

  • verb give a certain impression or have a certain outward aspect
  • verb appear to one's own mind or opinion
  • verb appear to exist
  • verb seem to be true, probable, or apparent

Etymologies

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

[Middle English semen, from Old Norse sœma, to conform to, from sœmr, fitting; see sem- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English semen "to seem, befit, be becoming" from Old Norse sœma ("to conform to, beseem, befit") (> Danish sømme ("beseem")) from sœmr ("fitting, seemly"), from Proto-Germanic *sōmijanan (“to unite, fit”), akin to Old Norse sōmi ("honour") ( > archaic Danish somme ("decent comportment")), Old English sēman ("to reconcile, bring an agreement"), Old English sōm ("agreement").

Examples

  • Also, I should have understood 'boots' where you wrote it, in the letter in question; if it had not been for _the relation of two things_ in it -- and now I perfectly seem to see _how_ I mistook that relation; ( '_seem to see_'; because I have not looked into the letter again since your last night's commentary, and will not --) inasmuch as

    The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, Vol. 1 (of 2) 1845-1846

  • III. iii.127 (435,5) Or, those that be not, 'would they might seem none!] [W: seem knaves] I believe the meaning is, _would they might no longer seem_, or bear the shape of _men_.

    Notes to Shakespeare, Volume III: The Tragedies

  • Questions about whether Palin knew what she was getting into by using the term seem to miss the mark when it comes to the approach that she has adopted in her public pronouncements since bursting on the national political scene as Republican Sen. John McCain's vice presidential running mate in 2008.

    Sarah Palin as provocateur

  • He's also co-author of a book called "Getting to YES: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In" (the last three words of the title seem important).

    CT-04: NRCC Mailing: Farrell Wants To Have "Coffee Talk With The Taliban"

  • Without Leos Carax's all-caps MERDE between them, the sad, introversive films by Michel Gondry and Bong Joon-ho might make the exclamation point at the end of the title seem ironic.

    Paul Snyder: Tense Times in Tokyo! Town

  • Not only did the title seem strangely fitting, but there are surely parallels between the modern devotional practice surrounding coffee and the role of Soma in ancient Vedic religion.

    Archive 2009-05-01

  • Not only did the title seem strangely fitting, but there are surely parallels between the modern devotional practice surrounding coffee and the role of Soma in ancient Vedic religion.

    Love Song to the Dark Lord

  • Here, analogical reasoning is at work; “[m] odels in this sense of the term seem to provide what might be termed strong causal analog models” (Ankeny 2001, p. S255).

    The Human Genome Project

  • In the development of metaphysical Idealism in the post-Kantian philosophers, the notion of abstraction becomes very general, so general in fact that the origi - nal meanings of the term seem almost lost.

    Dictionary of the History of Ideas

  • In the development of metaphysical Idealism in the post-Kantian philosophers, the notion of abstraction becomes very general, so general in fact that the origi - nal meanings of the term seem almost lost.

    Dictionary of the History of Ideas

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