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Is there an english word fitting the longer description 'the visible part of something as seen right now' or 'the thing as it can be understood as of this time'?

The word 'Impression' seems to cover this somewhat, but it has the added baggage of being someones opinion, rather than describing the factual state something has, as well as having a different meaning of being a physical depression of an object on another object.

Is there an alternative?

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    In what context are you planning to use that word. In computing it might be a snapshot. – Helmar Jul 21 '16 at 21:17
  • Perhaps you're thinking of the psychological term of imprinting: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imprinting_(psychology) – user180089 Jul 21 '16 at 21:26
  • Your first sentence seems to ask for a noun representing the visible portion, but your example impression seems to refer to something related to the viewer. Perhaps you're not after a noun at all. Please edit your question with a sample sentence containing a placeholder for the word you're seeking. (E.g. "The leaf was partly obscured; only the stem was ___." Then someone might suggest the word showing.) – Lawrence Jul 22 '16 at 3:46
  • I am going with 'Snapshot' as it fit my personal use-case the best, but all answers here are great answers. Thank you! – Qqwy Jul 22 '16 at 13:43
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"Present iteration" might work, particularly if this is a creative work that is known to progress and change.

Otherwise "snapshot" conveys everything you asked, in my opinion.

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Like something's first impression?

You probably won't find a word better than impression but maybe "image" or if you're implying it's not what seems, then "facade"?

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Maybe you're looking for "glimpse," meaning "a momentary or partial view."

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If it's a physical description, that is less open to interpretation as you say, possibly "current incarnation".

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