Open main menu



Borrowed from Middle French apparent, Old French aparant, in turn from Latin apparens/-entis, present participle of appareo.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /əˈpæ.ɹənt/
  • (US) IPA(key): /əˈpæ.ɹənt/, /əˈpɛ.ɹənt/
  • (file)


apparent (comparative more apparent, superlative most apparent)

  1. Capable of being seen, or easily seen; open to view; visible to the eye, eyely; within sight or view.
    • 1667, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book IV,
      […] Hesperus, that led / The starry host, rode brightest, till the moon, / Rising in clouded majesty, at length / Apparent queen unveiled her peerless light, / And o’er the dark her silver mantle threw.
  2. Clear or manifest to the understanding; plain; evident; obvious; known; palpable; indubitable.
    • c. 1595–6, William Shakespeare, The Life and Death of King John, Act IV, Scene 2,
      Salisbury: It is apparent foul-play; and ’tis shame / That greatness should so grossly offer it: / So thrive it in your game! and so, farewell.
    • 1897, Bram Stoker, Dracula Chapter 20
      When I came to Renfield's room I found him lying on the floor on his left side in a glittering pool of blood. When I went to move him, it became at once apparent that he had received some terrible injuries.
  3. Appearing to the eye or mind (distinguished from, but not necessarily opposed to, true or real); seeming.
    • 1785, Thomas Reid, Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man, Essay II (“Of the Powers we have by means of our External Senses”), Chapter XIX (“Of Matter and of Space”),
      What George Berkeley calls visible magnitude was by astronomers called apparent magnitude.
    • 1848, Thomas Babington Macaulay, The History of England from the Accession of James the Second,
      To live on terms of civility, and even of apparent friendship.
    • 1911, Encyclopædia Britannica, “Aberration”,
      This apparent motion is due to the finite velocity of light, and the progressive motion of the observer with the earth, as it performs its yearly course about the sun.
    • 2013 August 3, “Boundary problems”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8847:
      Economics is a messy discipline: too fluid to be a science, too rigorous to be an art. Perhaps it is fitting that economists’ most-used metric, gross domestic product (GDP), is a tangle too. GDP measures the total value of output in an economic territory. Its apparent simplicity explains why it is scrutinised down to tenths of a percentage point every month.

Usage notesEdit

  • The word apparent has two common uses that are almost in opposition. One means roughly “clear; clearly true”, and serves to make a statement more decisive:
    It was apparent that no one knew the answer. (=No one knew the answer, and it showed.)
  • The other is roughly “seeming; to all appearances”, and serves to make a statement less decisive:
    The apparent source of the hubbub was a stray kitten. (=There was a stray kitten, and it seemed to be the source of the hubbub.)
  • The same ambivalence occurs with the derived adverb apparently, which usually means “seemingly” but can also mean “clearly”, especially when it is modified by another adverb, such as quite.



Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.





From Old French aparent, aparant, borrowed from Latin apparens, apparentem.



apparent (feminine singular apparente, masculine plural apparents, feminine plural apparentes)

  1. apparent (all senses)

Related termsEdit

Further readingEdit