“The way the duck glided across the pond’s surface, you’d have no idea it was a mere semblance of ease – underwater, the bird was paddling like crazy!”

What is the best definition of semblance?

Check your answer!

Choice A - The outward appearance of something
Choice B - The inward reality of something
Choice C - An intentionally false or misleading representation
Choice D - A true similarity between two things


Semblance (noun) – the outward appearance of something, even if the reality doesn’t match up; or, an illusion of similarity

GRE pro tips:

You likely know the word resemblance, referring to the quality of looking like something or someone else. Well, semblance shares the same French root semblar, which means “to appear like.” It refers to the way something appears on the outside; most often, it is used to describe an external appearance that is different from reality.

For instance, maybe you’ve heard the phrase “semblance of order,” which is used to describe the appearance of order, when – in reality – everything is out of control. Or, perhaps you’ve seen the way a duck glides seemingly effortlessly (with a semblance of ease) across a pond, while – beneath the surface – the bird is paddling like crazy.

Example sentences:

“Although I was nervous during my presentation, I tried to project a semblance of calm while speaking.”

“The Elvis impersonator was very good but no semblance will ever live up to ‘The King.’”