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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

An Intro to the Specialties... Matte surfaces can look like velvet: rich and super-saturated. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "A Paint Expert's Simple Guide to Choosing the Right Paint Finish," 4 Mar. 2019 And there’s a trend toward combining different types of surfaces. Kim Cook, The Seattle Times, "The latest innovations for kitchen islands," 19 Feb. 2019 The average run is about 200 miles and is automated from end to end, including surface-street navigation, Mr. Price said, although the trucks need a human driver to back up to loading docks. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "Self-Driving Truck Tech Startup TuSimple Raises $95 Million in New Funding," 13 Feb. 2019 Larger bubbles enhance the release of aerosols into the air above the glass—bubbles on the order of 1.7mm across at the surface. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "The secret to champagne’s universal appeal is the physics of bubbles," 31 Dec. 2018 Differences in the details The Audi Q5 and the BMW X3 provide a comfortable ride and secure handling on a variety of road surfaces. Carlos Lago, Edmunds, USA TODAY, "Edmunds compares the Audi Q5 and BMW X3. Which luxury SUV has the edge?," 13 July 2018 There have been many explorations of the Martian surface at this point. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "To Understand How the Earth Formed, and How It Might Disappear, NASA Is Drilling on Mars," 21 Feb. 2019 Find a flat surface for writing or supporting a computer on your lap, and use a soft light to prevent a glare that may harm the eyes. Heidi Mitchell, WSJ, "Is It Healthy to Study in Bed?," 13 Feb. 2019 Glimmers of a familiar youthful glee surface while jumping away in the comfort of my own home—without witnesses. Lourdes Avila Uribe, Glamour, "I Bought a $300 Trampoline for My Apartment, and I Have No Regrets," 9 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

After a photo surfaced of the two kissing on set, rumors of their romance started circulating. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "A Complete Timeline of Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth's Relationship," 27 Dec. 2018 Fans were sent into a minor freakout after a photo surfaced, allegedly showing Kylie Jenner's baby daddy Travis Scott kissing another woman. Isabel Greenberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kylie Jenner and Her Sisters Shut Down Fake Travis Scott Cheating Rumors," 6 Dec. 2018 But even after story after story surfaced where a previously healthy but unvaccinated child or adult had died, misinformation continues to circulate about this potentially life-saving immunization. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "No, The Flu Shot Won't Give You the Flu — But Here’s Why You Might Feel Sick Afterwards," 19 Oct. 2018 After the accusation surfaced, several draft experts revised their predictions for Conley. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Could Gareon Conley Legally Prove That Rape Allegation Caused Draft Slide, Financial Harm?," 12 July 2018 Recently, 16-year-old Armoni Chambers of Milwaukee was located on Chicago’s West Side after a disturbing video surfaced showing the teen being assaulted by a man. Britni Danielle, Essence.com, "Chicago Police Are Asking For Help to Find Yet Another Missing Teen Girl," 3 July 2018 Smith retired in May, after several contracting errors surfaced at the agency that oversees public health and Medicaid. Allie Morris, San Antonio Express-News, "Lawmakers question state leaders, company executives over reported failures in Medicaid managed care program," 27 June 2018 Broidy quit as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee after the payment surfaced. Bloomberg.com, "Elliott Broidy and the GOP’s Bad Hacking Karma," 4 May 2018 Former Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen apologized Thursday after his high school tweets containing racial slurs surfaced on Twitter, just hours before the NFL draft. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "Landon Collins says Josh Allen would have to 'explain himself' after offensive tweets," 26 Apr. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about surface

Statistics for surface

Last Updated

12 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for surface

The first known use of surface was circa 1600

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up surface? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!