What does ostensible mean?

Definitions for ostensibleɒˈstɛn sə bəl

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word ostensible.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. apparent(a), ostensible, seeming(a)(adj)

    appearing as such but not necessarily so

    "for all his apparent wealth he had no money to pay the rent"; "the committee investigated some apparent discrepancies"; "the ostensible truth of their theories"; "his seeming honesty"

  2. ostensible, ostensive(adj)

    represented or appearing as such; pretended

    "His ostensible purpose was charity, his real goal popularity"


  1. Ostensible(a.)

    Outwardly appearing to be; shown to be; exhibited; apparent; evident.

  2. Ostensible(a.)

    Declared; avowed; professed; pretended; -- often used as opposed to real or actual; as, an ostensible reason, motive, or aim. D. Ramsay.

  3. Origin: [From L. ostensus, p. p. of ostendere to show, prop., to stretch out before; fr. prefix obs- (old form of ob-) + tendere to stretch. See Tend.]


  1. ostensible(Adjective)

    meant for open display; apparent

  2. ostensible(Adjective)

    alleged, having an intention that is possibly but not obviously true

  3. Origin: from ostensus, past participle of ostendere 'to show', itself from obs- in front of (akin to ob- in the way; akin to Greek epi 'on, at, besides, after' and Old English eofot crime) + tendere 'to stretch' (Greek teinein)

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Ostensible

    os-tens′i-bl, adj. that may be shown: declared: put forth as real: apparent.—n. Ostensibil′ity.—adv. Ostens′ibly.—adj. Ostens′ive, showing: exhibiting.—adv. Ostens′ively.—ns. Osten′sory, a monstrance; Os′tent (Shak.), appearance, manner: token: portent, prodigy; Ostentā′tion, act of making a display: ambitious display: display to draw attention or admiration: boasting.—adj. Ostentā′tious, given to show: fond of self-display: intended for display.—adv. Ostentā′tiously.—n. Ostentā′tiousness. [L. ostendĕre, ostensum, to show.]


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of ostensible in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of ostensible in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Images & Illustrations of ostensible

  1. ostensibleostensibleostensible

Translations for ostensible

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for ostensible »


Find a translation for the ostensible definition in other languages:

Select another language:

Discuss these ostensible definitions with the community:

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:     


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"ostensible." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 24 Mar. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/ostensible>.

Are we missing a good definition for ostensible? Don't keep it to yourself...

Nearby & related entries:

Alternative searches for ostensible:

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.