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

Elegant and regal above the surface; unseemly and ungainly below. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "10 Big Questions Ahead of the 2019 U.S. Open," 24 Aug. 2019 Then use a stiff-bristle nylon brush to scrub the stains from the surface. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How To Get Leaf Stains Off Your Wood Deck," 24 Aug. 2019 From Pluto's surface, the sun merely looks like a bright star. Lauren Kent, CNN, "Why Pluto is no longer a planet (or is it?)," 24 Aug. 2019 One thing is certain: 13 Reasons Why’s secrets are just starting to surface. Kaitlin Reilly, refinery29.com, "R29 Binge Club: 13 Reasons Why Season 3 Recap," 24 Aug. 2019 But beneath the surface lay substantive political and personal differences between the Kochs and Mr. Trump. Robert D. Mcfadden, New York Times, "David Koch, Billionaire Who Fueled Right-Wing Movement, Dies at 79," 23 Aug. 2019 That’s a lot trickier than the readily visible surfaces of the Moon or Mercury. Paul K. Byrne, The Conversation, "Why we need to get back to Venus," 23 Aug. 2019 Like most things American, the sweet surface note of our desserts conceals a far subtler technical ingenuity. Megan Mcardle, National Review, "American Desserts," 22 Aug. 2019 The menu will again highlight rotisserie meats, sauces and the restaurant’s trademark umami fries, while the aesthetics, with ample wood surfaces, will remain rustic. Justin Phillips, SFChronicle.com, "Here’s a first look at Rich Table’s RT Rotisserie opening Friday in Nopa," 22 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

According to surfacing reports, Forever 21 may be joining their ranks. Nicola Dall'asen, Allure, "New Reports Claim Forever 21 Is Preparing to File for Bankruptcy," 29 Aug. 2019 As the boat neared, the killer whales surfaced adjacent to the boat and Biertuempfel was able to capture a water-droplet sharp photograph of three orcas emerging in tandem. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "Humpbacks, killer whales, fin whales star in coastal spectacle," 28 Aug. 2019 That harmonic relationship began long before the concert on the river surfaced. Kathy Berdan, Twin Cities, "Operatunity sees opportunity in free concert along the river in Stillwater," 9 Aug. 2019 After checking to make sure no one was inside, the car was dragged from the lake near Ice House Drive and Bridge Street by a tow truck, emerging from the water like a surfacing submarine. Paul Cobler, Dallas News, "Car fished from pond in North Richland Hills linked to man in jail, police say," 31 July 2019 The statement lays out a list of allegations regarding Brewer’s legal work and his treatment of NRA staff as questions surfaced about his law firm’s billings, which totaled $24 million over a 13-month period. Mike Spies, ProPublica, "New Documents Raise Ethical and Billing Concerns About the NRA’s Outside Counsel," 30 July 2019 The cash infusion adds to $100 million the organization has provided since the outbreak surfaced in August 2018. Meredith Wadman, Science | AAAS, "World Bank dedicates $300 million to Ebola response," 24 July 2019 Whenever one of the loons would surface with a fish, the eager duck would rush across the water to get it. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Loons in northern Wisconsin are raising a mallard duckling after they lost their own chick," 24 July 2019 Alternative funding plans are surfacing as a growing chorus of anti-toll advocates are filling up town hall meetings and demanding answers. al.com, "Toll alternatives keep emerging as anti-toll movement forges on," 21 July 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

27 Aug 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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