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ostensibly - Wiktionary


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WOTD – 5 April 2007


ostensible +‎ -ly, from French ostensible, from Latin ostēnsus, past participle of ostendō (“I show”), from ob (“before”) + tendō (“I stretch out”)



ostensibly (not comparable)

  1. (modal) Seemingly, apparently, on the surface.
    Synonyms: apparently, arguably, at first blush, seemingly
    • 1889, Leslie Stephen, Sidney Lee, Dictionary of national biography
      On 13 June the peshwa signed a new treaty, ostensibly complying with the demands of the British government...
    • 1906, Upton Sinclair, The Jungle, Chapter 9
      Up to a year or two ago it had been the custom to kill horses in the yards — ostensibly for fertilizer...
    • 2007, Brian Herbert, Kevin J Anderson, Sandworms of Dune
      People strive to achieve perfection — ostensibly an honorable goal — but complete perfection is dangerous. To be imperfect, but human, is far preferable.
    • 2007 April 10, "Who Killed Ashraf Marwan?," The New York Times (retrieved 18 September 2015):
      Mr. Marwan’s story — a tale overflowing with the suspense and ruthless duplicity of a spy novel — began to take shape in the spring of 1969. He had come to London, ostensibly to consult a Harley Street doctor about a stomach ailment. He chose to be examined by a doctor whose offices had been used previously for a covert meeting between King Hussein of Jordan and the general director of the Israeli prime minister’s office."

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