American English

Definition of superficial adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1(often disapproving) not studying or looking at something thoroughly; seeing only what is obvious a superficial analysis The book shows only a superficial understanding of the historical context.
  2. 2appearing to be true, real, or important until you look at it more carefully superficial differences/similarities When you first meet her, she gives a superficial impression of warmth and friendliness.
  3. 3(of a wound or damage) only affecting the surface and therefore not serious a superficial injury superficial burns
  4. 4(disapproving) not concerned with anything serious or important and lacking any depth of understanding or feeling synonym shallow a superficial friendship The guests engaged in superficial chatter. She's so superficial!
  5. 5(technology) of or on the surface of something superficial veins a superficial deposit of acidic soils
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noun [uncountable]
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See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: superficial