1. to show itself or oneself in a clear or unmistakable fashion, often a fact or condition
  2. to surface or become clearer in a somewhat unexpected fashion
  3. to show symptoms (of an illness)


  1. easy or plain to perceive or understand


  1. a listing of cargo or passengers on a plane, truck, or ship


Can anger be a manifestation of love? Perhaps sometimes when we truly love someone our frustration about something related to them boils itself up in the form of anger.

Manifest is the act of making something obvious or proving something. Happiness sometimes manifests itself as a smile; sadness sometimes manifests as tears. Good health manifests itself as mental and physical stamina; bad health manifests as cranky behavior. Sometimes, thoughts and sensations become clearer to us, i.e. they manifest themselves, over time. Symptoms of an illness may manifest themselves right away or in the long term. When something appears to our perception in a palpable or identifiable way, it has manifested itself.

In the context of ships, trucks, trains, airplanes, and the like, manifest can act as a noun, indicating an invoice or a list of items on these specific forms of transportation. For example, a manifest is often a list of cargo on a ship, of goods on a truck or train, or of cargo and passengers on an airplane; basically, it is an organized account of specific shipments or payloads on various vehicles. Next time you board a plane for a family vacation, remember that you are on the manifest - the list of passengers.

When people first hear manifest, they may relate it to the phrase Manifest Destiny, which was the belief that America's expansion westward was fait accompli. The historical movement gained its name because it was coined as an obvious initiation toward development, a certain advancement. This phrase is an example of the sense of manifest as an adjective, which illustrates something as evident or plain. In Manifest Destiny, manifest is used to describe the United States' fate to expand from the Atlantic Ocean to Pacific Ocean as obvious or beyond doubt. One could similarly say, for instance, that the popularity of a person who is constantly in the company of three or four friends is manifest. Whether as a verb, an adjective, or even a noun, manifest shows the nature of something with clarity beyond dispute.

Example: Kristin's love for him would manifest in various ways, including anticipating his eccentric needs.

Example: Tom's anxiety manifested into a full blown panic attack.

Example: The freight train conductor double checked his manifest before departing.

Example: His love for Kristin was manifest in his constant concern for her well-being.


The adjective and verb forms of manifest, which first appeared sometime in the late 1300s, are derived from the Latin adjective manifestus meaning "detected," "evident," or "visible." The noun form of manifest, which did not emerge until the early 1700s, is derived from the Italian manifesto (which was also adopted in English in its own right), and also from the French word manifeste, taken from the French verb manifester.

Derivative Words

Manifested: (verb) the past tense form of manifest is used when someone or something has already made the object clear or evident.

Example: Her cold manifested in the form of a sore throat and cough.

Manifesting: (verb) the present progressive form of manifest is employed when the action of proving is currently taking place.

Example: He is manifesting his hunger by ordering three appetizers.

Manifests: (verb) the present tense form of manifest indicates that a third-party is undergoing or prompting the process of becoming plain or obvious.

Example: Their love manifests in the form of the many nice things they do for each other.

Manifestation: (noun) This is an event, action, or object that clearly portrays a specific idea or notion.

Example: The loud protest was a manifestation of anger towards the newly proposed policies.

Manifestly: The adverb form of the word characterizes an action as evidencing some trait or quality.

Example: Ever the book-lover, she manifestly eschews watching the TV series in favor of the books it was based on, refusing to watch it with her friends.

Manifesto: (noun) a public announcement regarding policies, goals, or perspectives of a specific group or an individual (usually a leader).

Example: The student government issued a manifesto about the university's new three-day absence limit.

In Literature

Marvin Dana's Within the Law:

"Though he strove to put confidence into his words, his painful doubt was manifest."

The character's doubt was evident, or manifest, despite his efforts to mask it. Dana uses the adjective form of manifest to express doubt as a difficult-to-mask emotion.

John S. C. Abbott's Ferdinand De Soto, The Discoverer of the Mississippi:

"He was fearless, energetic, self-reliant; and it was manifest that he was endowed with mental powers of much native strength."

It was obvious, i.e. manifest, that the exceptional character, being described by Abbot, was gifted with great intellect, in addition to many other noble qualities.


  • Do not manifest your stress.
  • A country's culture manifests in its many festivals.


Obvious, Clear, List

Bring out the linguist in you! What is your own interpretation of manifest. Did you use manifest in a game? Provide an example sentence or a literary quote.