1. To have certain characteristics, often ones that are similar to something else. Cancerous cysts can sometimes appear as normal ones at first, so we have to do further testing.
2. To act, as in a play or movie. My agent has been getting a lot of calls about me ever since I appeared as Elphaba in "Wicked."
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
appear as something
1. to act a certain part in a play, opera, etc. Madame Smith-Franklin appeared as Carmen at the City Opera last season. The actor refused to appear as a villain in the play.
2. [for something] to be seen or occur in a particular form or with particular characteristics. The tumors appear as shadows on the X-ray. The first signs of the disease appear as a fever and a rash.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Act the part of in public, usually alluding to a performance on stage. For example, She got wonderful reviews when she appeared as Portia. This idiom uses appear in the sense of "to come before the public," a usage dating from the late 1500s.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.