surface Definition

  • 1the outside or top layer of something
  • 2the upper limit or level of a body of liquid or other material

Using surface: Examples

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

  • Example

    The surface of the water was calm.

  • Example

    The table has a smooth surface.

  • Example

    The spacecraft will soon land on the surface of Mars.

  • Example

    She tried to keep her emotions from showing on the surface.

surface Synonyms and Antonyms

Synonyms for surface

Antonyms for surface

Idioms Using surface

  • relating to or involving only the most obvious or basic aspects of something


    The article only covered surface-level details about the company's financial situation.

  • to emerge from water or another liquid and become visible


    The dolphin broke the surface of the water and then dove back down again.

  • the force that causes the molecules at the surface of a liquid to be pushed together and form a barrier


    The surface tension of the water allowed the paper clip to float on top.

Phrases with surface

  • appearing to be a certain way, but not necessarily reflecting what is truly happening


    On the surface, everything seemed fine, but underneath there were serious problems.

  • to only begin to understand or deal with a problem or subject


    We've only scratched the surface of this issue; there's still so much more to learn.

  • to become known or visible after being hidden or secret


    The truth about his past eventually came to the surface and caused a scandal.

Origins of surface

from Old French 'sur' meaning 'over' and 'face' meaning 'countenance'


Summary: surface in Brief

The term 'surface' [ˈsɜːfɪs] refers to the outermost layer of an object or the upper limit of a body of liquid. It can describe physical characteristics like smoothness or emotional states like hiding one's feelings. Phrases like 'on the surface' imply appearances can be deceiving, while 'scratch the surface' suggests there is more to discover. Idioms like 'surface level' denote superficiality, and 'surface tension' describes the force that holds liquids together.

How do native speakers use this expression?