1. An outward or token appearance: "Foolish men mistake transitory semblance for eternal fact" (Thomas Carlyle).
2. A representation; a copy.
3. The barest trace; a modicum: not a semblance of truth to the story.
[Middle English, from Old French, from sembler, to resemble; see SEMBLABLE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.