Seem Like : Definition, Meaning And Origin

Last Updated on
June 16, 2023

"Seem like" is a common idiomatic expression to describe a situation, person, or thing that appears to have particular qualities or characteristics. It conveys the idea that something gives the impression of being a certain way, even if it may not be entirely accurate or true.

In short:

"Seem like" is a is a colloquial way of saying that something appears to be true or likely.

What Does "Seem Like" Mean?

"Seem like" is an idiomatic expression used when making an inference or forming an impression about a situation or event based on observation or indirect evidence. The phrase suggests that the speaker believes something to be true, even if it is not explicitly stated or fully confirmed.

Let's explore its core meanings and usage:

  • People commonly use this phrase to indicate the likelihood of something based on their judgment or perception.
  • It can imply a guess or assumption made when complete information is unavailable.
  • Additionally, you can use it to make comparisons or express opinions based on your observations and perceptions.

Where Does "Seem Like" Come From?

The word "seem" originates from the Old Norse word 'søma,' meaning 'to conform.' It soon evolved to denote the appearance of something, often in the absence of complete information or confirmation. The specific usage of "seem like" in its current form has been a part of colloquial English for several centuries, though pinpointing its first occurrence is challenging due to its common usage.

Historical Example

"The gipsy girl my sister! It seems like a dream."

- Cumberland's British Theatre, 1826

10 Examples of "Seem Like" in Sentences

Here are some examples of the idiom in use:

  • It seems like it might rain later, judging by those dark clouds.
  • The golf ball is teed up perfectly; it seems like a good shot is imminent.
  • From what you've told me, it seems like you're unhappy at your job.
  • With the chaos around, it seems like the best time to get out of dodge.
  • Based on his actions, it seems like he's not interested in the proposal.
  • It seems like the prerogative of the team leader to make the final decision.
  • Given the evidence, it seems like the suspect had an accomplice.
  • The train departure is scheduled at the bottom of the hour. It seems like we need to hurry.
  • Based on the forecasts, it seems like it's going to be a hot summer.
  • Despite their hard work, they seem like just a cog in the wheel, largely unnoticed in the larger scheme of things.

Examples of "Seem Like" in Pop Culture

The phrase "seem like" often appears in pop culture, typically used to imply an observation or assumption about a situation or individual.

Let's explore some instances:

  • The song "Seems Like Old Times" by Diane Keaton from the movie "Annie Hall" (1977) expresses the sentiment of nostalgic familiarity.
  • "Seems Like Old Times" is a 1980 comedy film directed by Jay Sandrich. The movie revolves around a writer who finds himself wrongfully accused of a bank robbery.
  • "It Seems Like Only Yesterday: A Memoir" is a 2008 autobiographical book written by Carolyn Reck.
  • "It Don't Seem Like Sunday Without Mama Here" by Charley Pride is a country music song that captures the feelings of nostalgia and longing for a loved one who is no longer present.

Other/Different Ways to Say "Seem Like"

There are numerous alternative expressions that convey a similar meaning to "seems like."

Here are some of them:

  • Appears to be
  • Looks as though
  • Gives the impression of
  • Comes across as
  • Sounds like
  • Feel like
  • Seem as though

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Seem Like":

  • What does "seem like" mean?

"Seem like" is an idiom that is used to infer or hypothesize that something appears to be the case based on the available evidence or personal judgment.

  • How can I use "seem like" in a sentence?

You can use "seem like" to express a likely situation or hypothesis. For example, "Based on his symptoms, it seems like he may have the flu."

  • Where does the idiom "seem like" come from?

"Seem like" is derived from the Old Norse word 'søma' and has been part of English for several centuries, used to express an appearance or inference about something.

  • Is "seem like" a negative phrase?

No, "seem like" is a neutral phrase that can be used in a variety of contexts to express a judgment or hypothesis based on available information.

  • Does "seem like" imply certainty?

No, "seem like" implies an inference or judgment and does not confirm the absolute truth of a situation.

  • Is "seem like" used only in informal contexts?

No, "seem like" is used in both formal and informal contexts, depending on the tone and purpose of the text.

  • Can "seem like" be used in academic writing?

Yes, "seem like" can be used in academic writing to express an observation or hypothesis. However, it should be used judiciously to maintain an objective tone.

  • Can "seem like" be used to express personal feelings?

Yes, "seem like" can be used to express personal feelings or impressions about a situation or person. For example, "It seems like she's been happier recently."

  • Can "seem like" be replaced with "looks like"?

Yes, in most cases "seem like" can be replaced with "looks like" as they often convey similar meanings. However, "seem like" may sometimes imply a more nuanced or subjective inference.

  • Is "seem like" a universal concept?

Yes, while the idiom is English, the concept of making assumptions or inferences based on observed information is a universal human experience, recognizable across different cultures and languages.

Final Thoughts About "Seem Like"

The phrase "seem like" is a useful phrase for conveying speculation, assumption, or perception in a casual way. It suggests that something appears probable or gives the impression of being the case based on limited information or at first glance.

Here's a quick recap:

  • The phrase is a means of conveying an observation or impression about a situation, person, or thing.
  • "Seem like" does not imply absolute certainty but rather is based on available information or personal judgment.
  • You may use it in a variety of contexts, from informal conversation to academic writing, given its versatility and widespread usage.

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