Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

The Word of the Year is...

superficial

[soo-per-fish-uh l] /ˌsu pərˈfɪʃ əl/
adjective
1.
being at, on, or near the surface:
a superficial wound.
2.
of or relating to the surface:
superficial measurement.
3.
external or outward:
a superficial resemblance.
4.
concerned with or comprehending only what is on the surface or obvious:
a superficial observer.
5.
shallow; not profound or thorough:
a superficial writer.
6.
apparent rather than real.
7.
insubstantial or insignificant:
superficial improvements.
Origin of superficial
late Middle English
1375-1425
1375-1425; late Middle English superfyciall < Late Latin superficiālis, equivalent to Latin superfici(ēs) superficies + -ālis -al1
Related forms
superficiality
[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
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
Cite This Source
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

superficial

/ˌsuːpəˈfɪʃəl/
adjective
1.
of, relating to, being near, or forming the surface: superficial bruising
2.
displaying a lack of thoroughness or care: a superficial inspection
3.
only outwardly apparent rather than genuine or actual: the similarity was merely superficial
4.
of little substance or significance; trivial: superficial differences
5.
lacking originality or profundity: the film's plot was quite superficial
6.
(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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for superficialities

superficial

adj.

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
Cite This Source
superficialities in Medicine

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

  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.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for superficial

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for superficialities

23
27
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for superficialities