AskDefine | Define ostensibly

Dictionary Definition

ostensibly adv : from appearances alone; "irrigation often produces bumper crops from apparently desert land"; "the child is seemingly healthy but the doctor is concerned"; "had been ostensibly frank as to his purpose while really concealing it"-Thomas Hardy; "on the face of it the problem seems minor" [syn: apparently, seemingly, on the face of it]

User Contributed Dictionary



From ostensible < ostensible < ostensus, past participle of ostendō ‘I show’, from ob ‘before’ + tendō ‘I stretch out’.


  • italbrac RP /ɒsˈtɛnsɪbli/ or
  • italbrac US /ɑːsˈtɛnsəbli/


  1. seemingly, apparently, on the surface
    A bedroom is ostensibly the safest room in the house, but many parents started to think differently and install better window-security features when Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her own bedroom one night.

Related terms


  • Dutch: ogenschijnlijk, op het eerste gezicht
  • Finnish: näennäisesti
  • Spanish: ostensiblemente

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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