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90s Slang You Should Know


[soo-per-fish-uh l] /ˌsu pərˈfɪʃ əl/
being at, on, or near the surface:
a superficial wound.
of or relating to the surface:
superficial measurement.
external or outward:
a superficial resemblance.
concerned with or comprehending only what is on the surface or obvious:
a superficial observer.
shallow; not profound or thorough:
a superficial writer.
apparent rather than real.
insubstantial or insignificant:
superficial improvements.
Origin of superficial
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English superfyciall < Late Latin superficiālis, equivalent to Latin superfici(ēs) superficies + -ālis -al1
Related forms
[soo-per-fish-ee-al-i-tee] /ˌsu pərˌfɪʃ iˈæl ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
superficialness, noun
superficially, adverb
quasi-superficial, adjective
quasi-superficially, adverb
subsuperficial, adjective
subsuperficially, adverb
subsuperficialness, noun
unsuperficial, adjective
unsuperficially, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for superficialities
Historical Examples
  • Camelia was in nowise disconcerted by these superficialities.

    The Confounding of Camelia Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • Carrie was an apt student of fortune's ways—of fortune's superficialities.

    Sister Carrie Theodore Dreiser
  • Kansas is still too near to first principles to be concerned with superficialities.

    Abroad at Home Julian Street
  • It is only youth that estimates happiness by superficialities.

    Janet of the Dunes Harriet T. Comstock
  • Perhaps they may have meant to say that sometimes Mr. Davis dealt in superficialities.

    Famous Authors (Men) E. F. (Edward Francis) Harkins
  • But these are hardly more than superficialities of the service.

    The Modern Railroad Edward Hungerford
  • A man knows solitude, his thoughts come clear, superficialities are left behind in the lands of men.

    The Strength of the Pines Edison Marshall
  • The world classifies human beings according to their superficialities.

    How to Analyze People on Sight Elsie Lincoln Benedict and Ralph Paine Benedict
  • It is indeed a poor sort of fool who does not know himself in his relations to the superficialities of his daily existence.

    A Maid of the Kentucky Hills Edwin Carlile Litsey
  • He wanted quiet and was ever ill at ease among the superficialities of a hypocritical civilisation.

    Modern Painting, Its Tendency and Meaning Willard Huntington Wright
British Dictionary definitions for superficialities


of, relating to, being near, or forming the surface: superficial bruising
displaying a lack of thoroughness or care: a superficial inspection
only outwardly apparent rather than genuine or actual: the similarity was merely superficial
of little substance or significance; trivial: superficial differences
lacking originality or profundity: the film's plot was quite superficial
(of measurements) involving only the surface area
Derived Forms
superficiality (ˌsuːpəˌfɪʃɪˈælɪtɪ), (rare) superficialness, noun
superficially, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin superficiālis of the surface, from Latin superficies
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for superficialities



late 14c., in anatomical and mathematical uses, "of or relating to a surface," from Latin superficialis "of or pertaining to the surface," from superficies "surface," from super "above, over" (see super-) + facies "form, face" (see face (n.)). Meaning "not deep, without thorough understanding, cursory" (of perceptions, thoughts, etc.) first recorded early 15c. (implied in superficially "not thoroughly").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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superficialities in Medicine

superficial su·per·fi·cial (sōō'pər-fĭsh'əl)

  1. Of, affecting, or being on or near the surface.

  2. Not thorough.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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