superficial Definition

  • 1existing or occurring at or on the surface
  • 2appearing to be true or real only until examined more closely

Using superficial: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "superficial" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    The wound was superficial and did not require stitches.

  • Example

    He had a superficial understanding of the subject.

  • Example

    She made only a superficial attempt to clean the house.

superficial Synonyms and Antonyms

Synonyms for superficial

Antonyms for superficial

Idioms Using superficial

  • a similarity that is only on the surface and does not go deeper than appearances


    Although they look alike, the two plants have only a superficial resemblance.

  • a treatment that only addresses the surface symptoms of a problem and does not address the underlying causes


    The medication provided only a superficial treatment for his illness.

  • appearing to be similar on the surface but actually different in important ways


    The two theories are superficially similar, but they have significant differences.

Phrases with superficial

  • the tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile in social situations while lacking sincerity and depth


    The con artist used his superficial charm to deceive his victims.

  • a wound that affects only the surface of the skin


    The doctor cleaned and bandaged the superficial wound on my arm.

  • superficial knowledge

    knowledge that is limited to the surface or obvious aspects of a subject


    He has only a superficial knowledge of history.

Origins of superficial

from Late Latin 'superficialis', from Latin 'superficium', meaning 'surface'


Summary: superficial in Brief

The term 'superficial' [ˌsuːpərˈfɪʃl] refers to something that exists or occurs on the surface, or appears to be true only until examined more closely. It can describe wounds, attempts, and understanding, as in 'The wound was superficial and did not require stitches.' 'Superficial' extends into phrases like 'superficial charm,' and idioms like 'a superficial treatment,' denoting a lack of depth. Antonyms include 'deep' and 'profound.'