Synonyms & Antonyms of superficial

1 lying on or affecting only the outer layer of something
  • a superficial scratch that barely even broke the skin

Synonyms for superficial

Words Related to superficial

Near Antonyms for superficial

2 having or showing a lack of depth of understanding or character
  • a superficial analysis of how the violence in video games affects young people

Synonyms for superficial

Words Related to superficial

Near Antonyms for superficial

Antonyms for superficial

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Frequently Asked Questions About superficial

How does the adjective superficial contrast with its synonyms?

The words cursory and shallow are common synonyms of superficial. While all three words mean "lacking in depth or solidity," superficial implies a concern only with surface aspects or obvious features.

a superficial analysis of the problem

When can cursory be used instead of superficial?

In some situations, the words cursory and superficial are roughly equivalent. However, cursory suggests a lack of thoroughness or a neglect of details.

gave the letter only a cursory reading

When might shallow be a better fit than superficial?

Although the words shallow and superficial have much in common, shallow is more generally derogatory in implying lack of depth in knowledge, reasoning, emotions, or character.

a light, shallow, and frivolous review

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Time Traveler for superficial

Time Traveler

The first known use of superficial was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Superficial.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on superficial

Nglish: Translation of superficial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of superficial for Arabic Speakers


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