Definition of semblance in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsembləns/


1The outward appearance or apparent form of something, especially when the reality is different: she tried to force her thoughts back into some semblance of order
More example sentences
  • Like anything else of importance (goodness, understanding, God), adoration (or love, as we might as well call it) is plagued by false semblances.
  • Such distance is based on the insight that all of the upheaval is ultimately just a non-substantial proliferation of semblances that do not really concern the innermost kernel of our being.
  • It was one long string of notes, connected not in harmony or key, but with semblances of consistency that emerge in rhythm and timbre.
(outward) appearance, air, show, facade, front, veneer, guise, pretense
1.1 archaic Resemblance; similarity: it bears some semblance to the thing I have in mind
More example sentences
  • It isn't until she starts in with lyrics that any semblance to the original recording manifests.
  • At that phase, some of his works had some semblance to nature, like the barks of trees or a rocky landscape.
  • Obviously the Napster that return today has no semblance to the original: bar the logo and the name.


Middle English: from Old French, from sembler 'seem', from Latin similare, simulare 'simulate'.

  • similar from late 16th century:

    This was also originally a term in anatomy meaning ‘homogeneous’. It comes from Latin similis ‘like’. The literary device simile for drawing comparisons (Late Middle English) is from the same source; as are simulate (mid 17th century), resemble (Middle English), and semblance (Middle English).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sem·blance

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