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 textured surface and low water uptake will also help optimise the performance, as the ball will hardly be impacted by external factors like rain or snow. SI.com, "Champions League: adidas Unveil Official Ball for 2019/20 Group Stage Games," 17 Sep. 2019 In an interview published in the Cape Ann Sun in 1996, Edna Beaudoin, the home’s current caretaker and Stenman’s niece, said that no surface was safe from being plastered in paper. Jennifer Nalewicki, Smithsonian, "From Bottles to Newspapers, These Five Homes Were Built Using Everyday Objects," 17 Sep. 2019 Blooms of the ice algae -- known as phytoplankton -- spread through a less-salty band of water close to the surface, which also was rich in other forms of algae. Anchorage Daily News, "As Bering Sea ice melts, Alaskans, scientists and Seattle’s fishing fleet witness changes ‘on a massive scale’," 17 Sep. 2019 What follows looks, on the surface, like a comedy of errors involving haughty interlopers, an absurd assassination story line, missing silver, and a royal marital crisis. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Downton, Downton, Revolution," 16 Sep. 2019 In deeper lakes, summer temperatures cause water to form distinct temperature bands, warmer near the surface and colder below, a phenomenon called thermal stratification. Keith Matheny, Freep.com, "Climate change transforming where fish in the Great Lakes region live," 16 Sep. 2019 Blooms of the ice algae — known as phytoplankton — spread through a less-salty band of water close to the surface, which also was rich in other forms of algae. Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times, "As Bering Sea ice melts, Alaskans, scientists and Seattle’s fishing fleet witness changes ‘on a massive scale’," 15 Sep. 2019 Each heart is suspended in front of one of the canvases, creating the illusion of blood spraying from living flesh onto the adjacent surface. Steven Litt, cleveland.com, "Gun rights explored in provocative ‘Well Armed Militias’ exhibit at Spaces," 15 Sep. 2019 The bite typically continues until the first frosty nights of November, which chill the surface and send the shad deep, taking the bass bonanza with them. Frank Sargeant, al, "Fry-size shad provide tasty treat for bass and anglers," 15 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Appeals for water and relief supplies began surfacing, too. Natalie Meade, The New Yorker, "How Social Media Is Helping Survivors of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas," 11 Sep. 2019 The meridians surface at roughly 360 places identified as acupuncture points. Deborah Storey | For Al.com, al, "Alabama vet specializes in acupuncture for pets," 11 Sep. 2019 Breitbart surfaced just three tweets by Riley, posted in 2017 and 2016, each of which was inarguably fair. Libby Watson, The New Republic, "Breitbart News Is the Real Mustering of Digital Jacobins," 6 Sep. 2019 Anecdotally, more reports are surfacing about women who say their health issues were blown off because a doctor didn't look past their size. Samantha Lauriello, Health.com, "A Doctor Told This New Mom to Lose Weight—but It Turned Out She Had Cancer," 28 Aug. 2019 Now a much less imaginary character is also surfacing: Mao Zedong, the Communist leader who established the People’s Republic of China 70 years ago. Ilaria Maria Sala, Quartz, "Chairman Mao is making an appearance at the Hong Kong protests," 28 Aug. 2019 Knoth said all employees were up to date on their dementia training prior to the videos surfacing, but over the weekend all the employees were retrained on Harvester Place’s standards of conduct, ethics, social media and cellphone policies. Kimberly Fornek, chicagotribune.com, "Burr Ridge police seek subpoenas for digital information related to videos at dementia care facility; employees have been retrained, Harvester Place says," 20 Aug. 2019 Redmond subsequently revived that program and two more allegations surfaced, one of which led to disciplinary proceedings last year. Dave Collins, courant.com, "Report: Yale professor sexually assaulted 5 students," 20 Aug. 2019 Update: Shortly after Hemsworth and Cyrus announced their breakup, photos surfaced showing the singer kissing Kaitlynn Carter, Brody Jenner's ex-wife, while on vacation with friends in Italy. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Liam Hemsworth Responds to His Split from Miley Cyrus with a Heartbreaking Comment," 12 Aug. 2019

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

8 Oct 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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