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Evident vs Manifest vs Patent vs Distinct vs Obvious vs Apparent vs Palpable vs Plain vs Clear

Evident, manifestpatentdistinctobviousapparentpalpableplainclear are comparable when they mean readily perceived or apprehended.

Evident implies the existence of visible signs, all of which point to the one conclusion; it may be applied to something (as another person’s state of mind, a hidden condition, or an imminent event) which is beyond the range of the senses but can be inferred from the outward indications.

Manifest implies an outward revelation or expression or an open exhibition; it is applied as a rule to something which is displayed so clearly that its recognition seemingly involves no inference.

Patent implies an opposition to what is imperceptible or obscure but existent; it therefore is applied to things (as a cause, an effect, a mistake, or an imperfection) which are not invariably or as a class evident or manifest.

Distinct (see also DISTINCT ) implies such sharpness of outline or of definition that the thing requires no effort of the eyes to see or discern or of the ears to hear or interpret or of the mind to apprehend or comprehend without confusion.

Obvious stresses ease in discovery or, sometimes, in accounting for and often connotes conspicuousness in what is discovered or little need of perspicacity in the discoverer; it is therefore often applied to something not successfully concealed or something crudely manifest.

Apparent (see also APPARENT 2 ) is often so close to evident in meaning that the two words are difficult to distinguish. But evident usually implies inference directly from visible signs or effects, and apparent from evidence plus more or less elaborate reasoning; therefore apparent is especially applicable to something which is apprehended through an induction, a deduction, or a similar course of reasoning.

Palpable (see also PERCEPTIBLE ) basically implies perceptibility through the sense of touch; it is often extended to perception by the other senses, excluding sight, or by the mind and typically suggests ease of perception or readiness of interpretation.

Plain and clear are less formal and literary than the preceding terms. Both are applied to something that is immediately apprehended or unmistakably understood, but plain implies familiarity or distinctness or a lack of intricacy or complexity, while clear suggests an absence of whatever confuses or muddles the mind or obscures the issues.