Definition of seem in English:

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Pronunciation: /sēm/


[no object]
1Give the impression or sensation of being something or having a particular quality: [with complement]: Dawn seemed annoyed [with infinitive]: there seems to be plenty to eat [with clause]: it seemed that he was determined to oppose her
More example sentences
  • Nobody else seems very interested, but I think it looks great!
  • Nobody else seems to notice, except perhaps Barry, who simply wants to be left alone.
  • Therefore, it seems somehow a bit excessive to single him out for this sort of treatment.
appear (to be), have the appearance/air of being, give the impression of being, look, look as though one is, show signs of being, look to be;
come across as, strike someone as, sound
1.1 [with infinitive] Used to make a statement or description of one’s thoughts, feelings, or actions less assertive or forceful: I seem to remember giving you very precise instructions
1.2 (cannot seem to do something) Be unable to do something, despite having tried: he couldn’t seem to remember his lines
More example sentences
  • Despite pre-tournament warnings the game cannot seem to rid itself of diving and there was a surfeit of the antic throughout the competition.
  • The truly odd thing is that, despite everything, the people who buy the season tickets cannot seem to get the truth into their heads.
  • I would have had more time to socialise but I started playing pool and by some fluke couldn't seem to put a ball wrong.
1.3 [with clause] (it seems or it would seem) Used to suggest in a cautious, guarded, or polite way that something is true or a fact: it would seem that he has been fooling us all
More example sentences
  • Superficially it would seem to have very little to do with an historic attack on Greece over a millennium before!
  • On the basis of this evidence, it would seem that the battle against it is lost!
  • More weight is given to politics than poetry, history or writing, it would seem.


Middle English (also in the sense 'suit, befit, be appropriate'): from Old Norse sœma 'to honor', from sœmr 'fitting'.

Words that rhyme with seem

abeam, agleam, beam, blaspheme, bream, deem, deme, downstream, dream, esteem, extreme, gleam, hakim, kilim, meme, midstream, Nîmes, régime, scheme, scream, seam, steam, stream, supreme, team, teem, theme, upstream

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: seem

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