Etymology
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seem (v.)

c. 1200, impersonal, hit semeth (it seems), "it appears (that something is so);" also with adjectives or phrases, "to appear to be (in some condition), have or present an appearance of being," from Old Norse soema "to honor; to put up with; to conform to (the world, etc.)," a verb derived from the adjective soemr "fitting."

This is reconstructed to be from Proto-Germanic *somiz (source also of Old English som "agreement, reconciliation," seman "to conciliate," source of Middle English semen "to settle a dispute," literally "to make one;" Old Danish söme "to be proper or seemly"), from PIE *somi-, suffixed form of root *sem- (1) "one; as one, together with" (also compare same).

With other verbs (seem to be, etc.) from c. 1200. Sense of "appear to oneself, think oneself" is from 1630s. Also in Middle English "to present oneself, appear; be visible, be apparent" (late 14c.), hence, of a fact, etc., "be evident, apparent, or obvious." The sense of "be fitting or appropriate, be expedient" (c. 1300) is the etymological one, but it is obsolete except in derived seemly, unseemly. Related: Seemed; seeming.

updated on April 13, 2022

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Definitions of seem from WordNet

seem (v.)
give a certain impression or have a certain outward aspect;
She seems to be sleeping
Synonyms: look / appear
seem (v.)
seem to be true, probable, or apparent;
It seems that he is very gifted
Synonyms: appear
seem (v.)
appear to exist;
There seems no reason to go ahead with the project now
seem (v.)
appear to one's own mind or opinion;
I can't seem to learn these Chinese characters
I seem to be misunderstood by everyone
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.