Meaning of ostensible in English:


Pronunciation /ɒˈstɛnsɪbl/

See synonyms for ostensible

Translate ostensible into Spanish


  • Stated or appearing to be true, but not necessarily so.

    ‘the real dispute which lay behind the ostensible complaint’
    • ‘Given that the country does not appear to have been invaded by a foreign power, what is the ostensible cause of this nationwide panic?’
    • ‘It is, after all, made up of ostensible competitors who are allied for the common good.’
    • ‘The ostensible ease with which he makes such jumps unsettles even loyal supporters.’
    • ‘For all his ostensible desire to tell the truth, when it comes to the hardest points, McNamara proves slippery.’
    • ‘The ostensible purpose of these escapades was to tag the animal's ear, for identification and conservation.’
    • ‘The ostensible cause of the conflict was a trivial argument between a public transportation driver and a passenger of different faiths.’
    • ‘As is so often the case with this Prime Minister, he was talking as much about himself as he was about his ostensible subject.’
    • ‘Where an employee has no actual authority, either express or implied, to perform the act in question he may still have apparent or ostensible authority.’
    • ‘While the ostensible motivation will be to improve the security of the Internet, the real objective will be to increase corporate profitability.’
    • ‘The safety team's ostensible goal was, if possible, to manage the project to a safe and successful conclusion.’
    • ‘The ostensible reason is that he does not wish to relinquish his seat in the European parliament.’
    • ‘Later, the company risked its stance of ostensible objectivity by joining the preacher and his family for a picnic supper at a farm north of the city.’
    • ‘The ostensible reason behind this attempt is to protect pets and wildlife from these so called cruel traps.’
    • ‘There is simply no money in the till to fund rickety new programs that will quickly outgrow their ostensible resource base.’
    • ‘The ostensible goal of this little group was to combat the great colossus of Americana - Mickey Mouse.’
    • ‘The show confirmed that he is an unabashed landscape painter, regardless of his ostensible subject matter.’
    • ‘On top of that, the government's plan doesn't even achieve its ostensible goal of solvency!’
    • ‘Its ostensible purpose was to usher in yet another Five Year Plan, this time on law and order.’
    • ‘There is a remarkable piece of dialogue on just this subject in Dr Faustus, although the ostensible topic is music.’
    • ‘A biography of Elvire O'Connor, the ostensible writer of this piece, is included in the program and is a tiny work of art in its own right.’
    apparent, seeming, outward, surface, superficial, professed, supposed, avowed, presumed, so-called, alleged, declared, claimed, purported, pretended, feigned, specious
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Mid 18th century from French, from medieval Latin ostensibilis from Latin ostens- ‘stretched out to view’, from the verb ostendere, from ob- ‘in view of’ + tendere ‘to stretch’.