Ostensible meaning

ŏ-stĕnsə-bəl
Represented or appearing as such; ostensive.

His ostensible purpose was charity, but his real goal was popularity.

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(rare) Clearly evident.
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The definition of ostensible is something that seems to be true but it may not be true.

An example of ostensible is a reason that is given for a trip that may not be the real reason.

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Apparent; seeming; professed.
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Apparent, evident; meant for open display.
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Appearing as such; being such in appearance; professed, supposed (rather than demonstrably true or real).

The ostensible reason for his visit to New York was to see his mother, but the real reason was to get to the Yankees game the next day.

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Origin of ostensible

  • French from Medieval Latin ostēnsibilis from Latin ostēnsus past participle of ostendere to show ob- ob- tendere to stretch ten- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From French, from Latin ostensus, the past participle of ostendō (“show"), itself from obs- (“in front of") (akin to ob- (“in the way") and to Ancient Greek ἐπί (epi, “on, at, besides, after") and Old English eofot (“crime")) + tendō (“stretch") (akin to Ancient Greek τείνω (teinō)).

    From Wiktionary