surface

noun
sur·​face | \ ˈsər-fəs How to pronounce surface (audio) \

Definition of surface

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : the exterior or upper boundary of an object or body on the surface of the water the earth's surface
2 : a plane or curved two-dimensional locus of points (such as the boundary of a three-dimensional region) plane surface surface of a sphere
3a : the external or superficial aspect of something trouble lurks below the surface
b : an external part or layer sanded the rough surfaces
on the surface
: to all outward appearances

surface

adjective

Definition of surface (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : of, located on, or designed for use at the surface of something
b : situated, transported, or employed on the surface of the earth surface mail surface vehicles
2 : appearing to be such on the surface only : superficial surface friendships

surface

verb
surfaced; surfacing

Definition of surface (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to give a surface to: such as
a : to plane or make smooth
b : to apply the surface layer to surface a highway
2 : to bring to the surface surface a sunken ship

intransitive verb

1 : to work on or at the surface
2 : to come to the surface
3 : to come into public view : show up letters that have recently surfaced

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Other Words from surface

Verb

surfacer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for surface

Synonyms: Noun

exterior, face, outside, shell, skin, veneer

Synonyms: Adjective

skin-deep, superficial

Synonyms: Verb

arise, come up, crop (up), emerge, materialize, spring (up)

Antonyms: Noun

inside, interior

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Examples of surface in a Sentence

Noun

The painting's surface is covered with fine cracks. The bowl has a shiny surface. The surface of wood was rough. Be careful of icy surfaces on the roads.

Adjective

Despite the surface differences between the two candidates, they are very similar in most ways. a surface stain on the wood that can easily be removed with a mild detergent

Verb

The whale surfaced and then dove back down. The information surfaced many years later. After several years, the actress surfaced in a comedy. The road needs to be surfaced again.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The goal is to expose the asteroid beneath the surface so the Hayabusa can collect some underground samples. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Watch the Hayabusa Spacecraft Blow Up an Asteroid Tonight," 4 Apr. 2019 Almost everything that actually matters in life happens beneath the surface. John Kaag, WSJ, "‘How to Disappear’ Review: The Unseen Virtues," 22 Feb. 2019 Beneath the surface The skulls were part of a large collection examined by archaeologists Nicole Smith-Guzman and Richard Cooke of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "The skulls of ancient pearl divers come with abnormal ear canal bone growths," 28 Dec. 2018 Something is happening beneath the surface, something arcane and verging on the magical. Laura Hudson, The Verge, "Zoe Quinn’s Goddess Mode makes cyberpunk magic from the internet," 27 Dec. 2018 Regardless, unrest is already bubbling beneath the surface. Almudena Calatrava, The Seattle Times, "Security concerns arise as Argentina hosts G-20," 27 Nov. 2018 Even though bricks resist rain well vertically, when laid horizontally, moisture can build up and seep beneath the surface. Danielle Tullo, House Beautiful, "7 Things You Should Know Before Installing Brick Floors," 7 Sep. 2018 However, magic allows us to see past the surface and within our subconscious. Lisa Stardust, Teen Vogue, "How to Do Magic and Other Questions You Might Have About Being a Witch," 30 Apr. 2019 Both have nonporous surfaces that are impervious to staining and easy to clean. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "Your Quick and Dirty Guide to Tiling a Kitchen Backsplash," 26 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Now, less than three years after lead ship Zumwalt joined the fleet, the service is changing the ships’ mission from land attack to surface warfare—sinking other ships. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "After Only 3 Years in Service, the USS Zumwalt’s Mission Is Changing," 17 May 2019 Let’s segue from interior design to surface decoration, which is what Libertine is known for. Vogue, "For Libertine’s Johnson Hartig, Home Is Where the Art Is," 26 Apr. 2019 But other contentious immigration issues have historically undermined any lasting deal on the Dreamers over the past decade, and such fights look set to surface again. ... Louise Radnofsky, WSJ, "Democrats Introduce Dreamers Bill, Reigniting a Debate," 12 Mar. 2019 November 2012 Karlie and Josh dating rumors begin to surface after Karlie brings him as her date to the 2012 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show after-party. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "A Definitive Timeline of Karlie Kloss and Josh Kushner's Very Private Relationship," 24 July 2018 As the Trump administration began separating thousands of migrant children for their parents — and reports of ICE personnel treating such families with sadistic cruelty began to surface — some House Democrats came out in favor of abolishing ICE. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Abolishing ICE Is About As Popular As Trump’s Immigration Agenda," 11 July 2018 The case went cold until new leads began to surface. Chuck Weber, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Evidence photos shed light on notorious killer clown case," 4 July 2018 The number of generic-drug versions that contain the class of chemicals, called nitrosamines, has been increasing since the issue first surfaced last summer. Thomas M. Burton, WSJ, "FDA Says Up to Two Million People Exposed to Likely Carcinogens in Blood-Pressure Drugs," 25 Jan. 2019 The Kansas City allegations first surfaced in the late 1980s and early ’90s. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Even more states have launched investigations into clerical abuse since the Pennsylvania report," 24 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'surface.' 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 surface

Noun

circa 1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1642, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1778, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for surface

Noun

French, from Middle French, from sur- + face face, from Old French — more at face

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Statistics for surface

Last Updated

21 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for surface

The first known use of surface was circa 1600

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More Definitions for surface

surface

noun

English Language Learners Definition of surface

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: an outside part or layer of something
: the upper layer of an area of land or water
: the flat, top part of something (such as a table or desk) that you can work on

surface

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of surface (Entry 2 of 3)

: involving only the parts that are easy to see or notice
: involving the removal of the surface of a large area of land to get at coal or other material that is near to the surface

surface

verb

English Language Learners Definition of surface (Entry 3 of 3)

: to rise to the surface of water
: to appear or become obvious after being hidden or not seen
: to put a surface on (something, such as a road)

surface

noun
sur·​face | \ ˈsər-fəs How to pronounce surface (audio) \

Kids Definition of surface

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : the outside or any one side of an object She floated on the water's surface.
2 : the outside appearance On the surface the idea seems good.

surface

adjective

Kids Definition of surface (Entry 2 of 3)

: not deep or real a surface wound a surface friendship

surface

verb
surfaced; surfacing

Kids Definition of surface (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : to come to the surface The submarine surfaced.
2 : to become obvious Claudia's impatience surfaced.— E. L. Konigsburg, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
3 : to give a new top layer to : make smooth (as by sanding or paving)

surface

noun
sur·​face | \ ˈsər-fəs How to pronounce surface (audio) \

Medical Definition of surface

: the exterior or upper boundary of an object or body the mesial and distal surfaces of a tooth

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More from Merriam-Webster on surface

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for surface

Spanish Central: Translation of surface

Nglish: Translation of surface for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of surface for Arabic Speakers

Comments on surface

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