sub·​sur·​face | \ ˈsəb-ˌsər-fəs How to pronounce subsurface (audio) \

Definition of subsurface

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: earth material (such as rock) near but not exposed at the surface of the ground


sub·​sur·​face | \ ˌsəb-ˈsər-fəs How to pronounce subsurface (audio) \

Definition of subsurface (Entry 2 of 2)

: of, relating to, or being something located beneath a surface and especially underground

Synonyms & Antonyms for subsurface

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of subsurface in a Sentence

Adjective a sandy wasteland that gave little hint of its subsurface wealth
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Now a study published in Astrobiology contends that radiolysis could have powered microbial life in the Martian subsurface. Nikk Ogasa, Scientific American, 19 July 2021 According to the second process, the fluid pressure increase from injection in the subsurface also exerts elastic stress changes on the surrounding rocks that can be transmitted over longer distances. David Bressan, Forbes, 6 Dec. 2021 The group’s subsurface investigations were delayed by the site’s use as COVID-19 vaccination center, the report said. San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Nov. 2021 The results indicated the presence of subsurface features, like foundations, as well as soil disturbances from other archaeological materials. Madison Bateman,, 27 Oct. 2021 The subsurface waters may be the best place on Titan for microbial life to have evolved, so Dragonfly will take samples from the crater floor to look for its frozen chemical traces, Barnes said. NBC News, 23 Aug. 2021 Titan will be scouring both moons for signs of life residing in each world’s subsurface ocean or, in the case of Titan, on the surface itself. Jonathan O'callaghan, Scientific American, 10 Nov. 2021 The Donlin prospect is on land owned by The Kuskokwim Corp., a consolidated village corporation and, as is the case across the state, the subsurface rights and royalties are controlled by the regional corporation — in Donlin’s case, Calista Corp. Elwood Brehmer, Anchorage Daily News, 30 Sep. 2021 The video shows a number of air, surface, subsurface, and land assets preparing for the shoot-off. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 16 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Two other targets are Jupiter’s intriguing moon Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus, both of which have geysers believed to signal the presence of subsurface oceans. Joel Achenbach, Anchorage Daily News, 25 Dec. 2021 Farmland covers three-quarters of the state and more than a third of cropland has subsurface drainage to reduce excess water, which can assist in nutrient transport. Morgan Greene,, 20 Dec. 2021 Powered by solar energy, Zhurong will also look for signs of ancient life, including any subsurface water and ice, using a ground-penetrating radar during its 90-day exploration of the Martian surface. NBC News, 22 May 2021 With oversight of 413 million acres of federal land and 700 million acres of subsurface mineral rights, Interior has diverse — and often contradictory — roles. The Salt Lake Tribune, 23 Feb. 2021 Substantial biological diversity exists throughout the huge volume of subsurface habitable environments, which may reach (greater than 5 kilometers in) depth. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 2 Dec. 2020 Kaktovik has surface land rights next to the coastal plain, and the ASRC holds 92,000 acres of subsurface mineral rights. Juliet Eilperin, Star Tribune, 16 Nov. 2020 The water, the study said, could be obtained from subsurface ice on Mars. Katie Hunt, CNN, 16 Sep. 2020 For so long, the leading candidates have been mysterious beings hidden in the soil on Mars or tiny creatures swimming in subsurface oceans on icy moons such as Europa and Enceladus. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, 14 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'subsurface.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of subsurface


1775, in the meaning defined above


1875, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for subsurface

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The first known use of subsurface was in 1775

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Dictionary Entries Near subsurface



subsurface tillage

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Last Updated

7 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Subsurface.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.

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