Menu Close

Looks Can Be Deceiving

multiple reflections of lady in mirror with yellow wig

Looks Can Be Deceiving Definition

  • Something can be very different from how it seems or appears to be at first sight.
  • The quality you perceive something to have is not always correct.

Looks Can Be Deceiving Examples

  • The only restaurant near the hotel looked a little rundown. But it was the best place I’d ever eaten! Turns out looks can be deceiving.
  • Danny might not look the part with his flame and skull tattoos. Looks can be deceiving, he’s the first place crochet champion three years running!


Well, looks can be deceiving. For instance, when I met you, I thought you look reasonably intelligent.

Neal Shusterman, Unwind

Look! Don’t be deceived by appearances – men and things are not what they seem. All who are not on the rock are in the sea!

William Booth

Looks Can Be Deceiving Origin

Literary Origin

This doubling of names makes us aware that we are reading a novel that is, in some way, based on fact ; it warns us simultaneously that appearances can be deceiving.

The Sewanee Review Volume 70, 1892

The Sewanee Review is America’s oldest published literary quarterly. It was founded in 1892 by teacher and critic William Peterfield Trent. Many renowned authors and artista have appeared in Sewanee Review including T. S. Elliot, William Faulkner, Wallace Stevens and Katherine Anne Porter.

The ‘SR’ as it’s called also had a reputation for finding budding talents, including publishing from Cormac McCarthy and Flannery O’Conner.

Spiritual Origin

Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7, English standard version

The Book of Samuel, a book of the Hebrew Bible, is the earliest to reference the sentiment that appearances can be deceiving. It claims the Lord of Judaism does not view men by appearance as other men do, but by what is in their heart.