surface

noun
sur·face | \ ˈsər-fəs \

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

Stepped-up scientific testing of surfaces will help make sure that rooms are free of lead dust before students can return. Dylan Purcell, Philly.com, "Can Philadelphia school officials be trusted with millions in state money to clean up lead paint?," 12 July 2018 Press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface (to avoid forming a skin) and cover with a lid. Nik Sharma, SFChronicle.com, "A Brown Kitchen: Mango layer cake for a fresh summer treat," 11 July 2018 The creek bisecting the hole sits just a few feet in front of the putting surface and is particularly in play when the pin is on the left side. Brent Kennedy, baltimoresun.com, "Hunt Valley Country Club," 11 July 2018 Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Hannah Walhout, Smithsonian, "Forget Baguettes — Why In-the-Know Bread Lovers Should be Heading to the Caucasus (Recipe)," 5 July 2018 Guests just need to bring a towel in order to sit on surfaces at the resort. Kellie Hwang, azcentral, "Sun's out, buns out: Nude Recreation Week, International Skinny Dip Day returns," 5 July 2018 Even if drones can monitor only a small fraction of the ocean’s surface, their presence could be a powerful deterrent. The Economist, "Avast, me hearties," 5 July 2018 Step 8: Drill ¼-inch-diameter drain holes near each corner of the playing surface. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Build This Floating Ping Pong Table," 28 June 2018 About half of the play space would be covered with artificial turf, similar to a soccer field, and the other half would feature a play structure on a rubber surface. Jeff Rumage, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Spanish immersion school eyes former Goldi storefront in Shorewood," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

When a report surfaced the Magic were negotiating with a former two-time All-Star who averaged 28.9 points per game during the 2016-17 season, the fans had reason to be excited. Josh Robbins, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Magic Mailbag: What’s the deal with Orlando’s point guard situation?," 12 July 2018 Related stories from Sacramento Bee County Fire in Yolo doubles to 8,000 acres in 2 hours; 30 structures threatened Reports of overnight ashfall in counties, including Napa and Sonomoa, surfaced Sunday morning on Twitter. Michael Mcgough, sacbee, "County Fire in Yolo continues furious growth, now 16,500 acres with evacuations ordered," 1 July 2018 Last night, photos surfaced of him taking Katherine Schwarzenegger on a romantic picnic date on Sunday in Santa Barbara, California. Allie Jones, The Cut, "Is Chris Pratt Dating Katherine Schwarzenegger?," 19 June 2018 Some names will surface that might be of real interest to the club, and others might find their way into the conversation through skillful self-promotion. Peter Schmuck, baltimoresun.com, "Schmuck: Another downside to all this Orioles losing is how it feeds the rumor mill," 18 June 2018 The cases in Illinois first appeared in mid-May, while the illnesses in Iowa were more recent, surfacing in late June and early July. Matthew Haag, New York Times, "McDonald’s Removes Salads Linked to Intestinal Parasite Outbreak in Midwest," 13 July 2018 Until the rape accusation surfaced, many draft experts had predicted that Conley would be selected in the middle of the first round. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Could Gareon Conley Legally Prove That Rape Allegation Caused Draft Slide, Financial Harm?," 12 July 2018 Kylie is known for getting real AF with her fans, which is why the world was shocked when pregnancy rumors surfaced and not a peep came from our fave Jenner. Alison Caporimo, Seventeen, "Kylie Jenner Talks About Stretch Marks On Her Boobs and How Her Body Has Changed After Stormi," 9 July 2018 Rumors of their engagement began over the weekend with photos of the couple in the Bahamas surfaced, and Baldwin was seen wearing a large diamond ring. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "Justin Bieber Confirms Engagement With the Sweetest Message Ever," 9 July 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

Phrases Related to surface

surface area

surface mail

Statistics for surface

Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

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 \

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 \

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

a magnificent or impressive array

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!