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on the surface

Superficially, to all outward appearances, as in On the surface he appeared brave and patriotic, but his troops knew better. [Early 1700s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

Related Words for on the surface

apparent, noticeable, slight, cursory, one-dimensional, perfunctory, sketchy, silly, trivial, frivolous, shallow, peripheral, warped, supposedly, officially, evidently, seemingly, superficially, outwardly, externally