Definitions

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

  • n. An outward or token appearance: "Foolish men mistake transitory semblance for eternal fact” ( Thomas Carlyle).
  • n. A representation; a copy.
  • n. The barest trace; a modicum: not a semblance of truth to the story.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. likeness, similarity; the quality of being similar.
  • n. Seeming; appearance; show; figure; form.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Seeming; appearance; show; figure; form.
  • n. Likeness; resemblance, actual or apparent; similitude.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state or fact of being like of similar; likeness; similarity; resemblance.
  • n. Likeness; image; exterior form.
  • n. Face; countenance; aspect.
  • n. Appearance; outward seeming; show.

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

  • n. picture consisting of a graphic image of a person or thing
  • n. an outward or token appearance or form that is deliberately misleading
  • n. an erroneous mental representation

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from sembler, to resemble; see semblable.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • I had laid out like an eight-week to ten-week timeline where we could get the city back in semblance of order.

    08/31/2005

  • Sophia, Imperial honors, a stately palace, a numerous household, was liberally bestowed by the piety of her adopted son; on solemn occasions he attended and consulted the widow of his benefactor; but her ambition disdained the vain semblance of royalty, and the respectful appellation of mother served to exasperate, rather than appease, the rage of an injured woman.

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • (as it is strongly expressed by Tacitus) into a certain semblance of wine, was sufficient for the gross purposes of German debauchery.

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • I don’t care if Jackie Chan doesn’t fit Goku’s general look, why can they not retain semblance of Asian culture, in either film?

    Superhero Nation: how to write superhero novels and comic books » Nobody’s Asian in the Movies

  • We who knew HENRY WINTER DAVIS are not content to clothe ourselves in the outward garb of grief, and call the semblance of mourning a fitting tribute to the gifted orator and statesman, so suddenly snatched from our midst in the full glory of his mental and bodily strength.

    Oration on the Life and Character of Henry Winter Davis

  • Thus -- to sum up Browning's view of knowledge -- we are ignorant of the world; we do not know even whether it is good, or evil, or only their semblance, that is presented to us in human life; and we know nothing of

    Browning as a Philosophical and Religious Teacher

  • In a lodging you are promptly and respectfully personalized; your tastes are consulted, if not gratified; your minor wants, in which your comfort lies, are interpreted, and possibly there grows up round you the semblance, which is not altogether deceitful, of your own house.

    London Films

  • Sometimes, therefore, the political economists invest economic conditions with a human semblance, that is, when they are attacking a particular abuse, but at other times, which is mostly the case, they interpret these conditions in their strict economic meaning, as distinguished from human conditions.

    Selected Essays

  • Or maybe some shred of evidence, of some kind of semblance of interest

    Max and the Marginalized: Date With Dynasty

  • There ` s got to be some kind of semblance as to this investigation.

    CNN Transcript Sep 15, 2009

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