the outer face, outside, or exterior boundary of a thing; outermost or uppermost layer or area.
any face of a body or thing: the six surfaces of a cube.
extent or area of outer face; superficial area.
the outward appearance, especially as distinguished from the inner nature: to look below the surface of a matter.
Geometry. any figure having only two dimensions; part or all of the boundary of a solid.
land or sea transportation, rather than air, underground, or undersea transportation.
Aeronautics. an airfoil.
of, on, or pertaining to the surface; external.
apparent rather than real; superficial: to be guilty of surface judgments.
of, pertaining to, or via land or sea: surface mail.
Linguistics. belonging to a late stage in the transformational derivation of a sentence; belonging to the surface structure.
verb (used with object), surfaced, surfacing.
to finish the surface of; give a particular kind of surface to; make even or smooth.
to bring to the surface; cause to appear openly: Depth charges surfaced the sub. So far we've surfaced no applicants.
verb (used without object), surfaced, surfacing.
to rise to the surface: The submarine surfaced after four days.
to work on or at the surface.

1605–15; < French, equivalent to sur- sur-1 + face face, apparently modeled on Latin superficies superficies

surfaceless, adjective
surfacer, noun
nonsurface, noun, adjective
unsurfaced, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To surface
World English Dictionary
surface (ˈsɜːfɪs)
1.  a.  the exterior face of an object or one such face
 b.  (as modifier): surface gloss
2.  a.  the area or size of such a face
 b.  (as modifier): surface measurements
3.  material resembling such a face, with length and width but without depth
4.  a.  the superficial appearance as opposed to the real nature
 b.  (as modifier): a surface resemblance
5.  geometry
 a.  the complete boundary of a solid figure
 b.  a continuous two-dimensional configuration
6.  a.  the uppermost level of the land or sea
 b.  (as modifier): surface transportation
7.  come to the surface to emerge; become apparent
8.  on the surface to all appearances
9.  to rise or cause to rise to or as if to the surface (of water, etc)
10.  (tr) to treat the surface of, as by polishing, smoothing, etc
11.  (tr) to furnish with a surface
12.  (intr) mining
 a.  to work at or near the ground surface
 b.  to wash surface ore deposits
13.  (intr) to become apparent; emerge
14.  informal (intr)
 a.  to wake up
 b.  to get up
[C17: from French, from sur on + faceface, probably on the model of Latin superficies]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1611, from Fr. surface "outermost boundary of anything, outside part" (16c.), from O.Fr. sur- "above" + face (see face). Patterned on L. superficies "surface" (see superficial). The verb meaning "come to the surface" is first recorded 1898;
earlier it meant "bring to the surface" (1885), and "to give something a polished surface" (1778).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

surface sur·face (sûr'fəs)
The outer or topmost part of a solid structure.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see on the surface; scratch the surface.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Many such apologies surface in online responses to articles on part-time and
  non-tenure-track faculty members.
As she gazed at the brown skillet marks on the surface of the bread, a familiar
  visage snapped into focus.
We all but eliminated lawn surface in favor of trees and perennials and the
  climate did the watering.
The moon is our close cosmic neighbor, and humans have been exploring its
  surface ever since they first developed telescopes.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature