[soo-per-fish-uh l]


Origin of superficial

1375–1425; late Middle English superfyciall < Late Latin superficiālis, equivalent to Latin superfici(ēs) superficies + -ālis -al1
Related formssu·per·fi·ci·al·i·ty [soo-per-fish-ee-al-i-tee] /ˌsu pərˌfɪʃ iˈæl ɪ ti/, su·per·fi·cial·ness, nounsu·per·fi·cial·ly, adverbqua·si-su·per·fi·cial, adjectivequa·si-su·per·fi·cial·ly, adverbsub·su·per·fi·cial, adjectivesub·su·per·fi·cial·ly, adverbsub·su·per·fi·cial·ness, nounun·su·per·fi·cial, adjectiveun·su·per·fi·cial·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for superficially

Contemporary Examples of superficially

Historical Examples of superficially

  • Still, the standard of wealth has superficially advanced, if that be any satisfaction.

    Another Sheaf

    John Galsworthy

  • No amount of method will remove the curse of the superficially informed.

    College Teaching

    Paul Klapper

  • When he had done, he examined, superficially, the wounds of each man.

    Nan of Music Mountain

    Frank H. Spearman

  • Superficially considered, they are an odd mingling of the new and the old.

  • Superficially, the neat rows of houses looked the same as in any other town.

British Dictionary definitions for superficially



of, relating to, being near, or forming the surfacesuperficial bruising
displaying a lack of thoroughness or carea superficial inspection
only outwardly apparent rather than genuine or actualthe similarity was merely superficial
of little substance or significance; trivialsuperficial differences
lacking originality or profunditythe film's plot was quite superficial
(of measurements) involving only the surface area
Derived Formssuperficiality (ˌsuːpəˌfɪʃɪˈælɪtɪ) or rare superficialness, nounsuperficially, adverb

Word Origin for superficial

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

Word Origin and History for superficially



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

superficially in Medicine




Of, affecting, or being on or near the surface.
Not thorough.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.