su·​per·​fi·​cies ˌsü-pər-ˈfi-(ˌ)shēz How to pronounce superficies (audio)
plural superficies
: a surface of a body or a region of space
: the external aspects or appearance of a thing

Did you know?

Look below the surface of "superficies" and "surface" and you’ll find the very same Latin roots: "super-," meaning "on top," and "facies," meaning "face" or "aspect." English speakers plucked "superficies" right from Latin - it means "surface" in that language. Our word surface came to us by way of Middle French, where "sur-" (which comes from "super " and also means "on top") was combined with "face" (meaning "face"; from "facies"). We added "surface" to our crop of borrowed words around 1600, and the first known use of "superficies" is from 1530. One tricky thing to keep in mind about "superficies" is that it can be singular (even though it ends in an "s"!) or plural. There is no "superficie" or "superficy."

Word History


Latin, surface, from super- + facies face, aspect — more at face

First Known Use

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of superficies was in 1530


Dictionary Entries Near superficies

Cite this Entry

“Superficies.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

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