Definition of surface noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈsɜːfɪs//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈsɜːrfɪs//
    Features of roads
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  1. 1  [countable] the outside or top layer of something an uneven road surface We'll need a flat surface to play the game on. Teeth have a hard surface layer called enamel. a broad leaf with a large surface area See related entries: Features of roads
  2. 2  [countable, usually singular] the top layer of an area of water or land the earth’s surface These plants float on the surface of the water. We could see fish swimming just below the surface.
  3. 3  [countable] the flat upper part of a piece of furniture, that is used for working on a work surface She's cleaned all the kitchen surfaces. You'll need a large smooth surface for rolling out the pastry.
  4. 4[singular] the outer appearance of a person, thing or situation; the qualities that you see or notice, that are not hidden Rage bubbled just below the surface of his mind.
  5. Word Originearly 17th cent.: from French (from sur- and face), suggested by Latin superficies.Extra examples Cracks began to appear in the surface of the earth. On the surface his words were funny, but I detected a lot of anger behind them. She gives the impression of being rather conventional, but under the surface she is wildly eccentric. Smooth the surface with a spatula. Surface water made driving conditions hazardous. The ball rolled onto the frozen surface of the pond. The captain brought the submarine to the surface. The investigation barely scratched the surface of the city’s drug problem. The ring slowly sank beneath the surface of the mud pool. The wind rippled the surface of the lake. Visible light from the sun passes through the atmosphere to the Earth’s surface. a cleaning product for all kitchen surfaces a trail of pink flowers floating on the surface of the water the inner surface of a bone the surface layer of the skinIdioms when not thought about deeply or thoroughly; when not looked at carefully It seems like a good idea on the surface but there are sure to be problems. On the surface, he appeared unchanged.
    scratch the surface (of something)
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    to deal with, understand, or find out about only a small part of a subject or problem We left feeling that we had just scratched the surface of this fascinating country.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: surface