the action or process of giving a finished surface to something.
the material with which something is surfaced.
the act or an instance of rising to the surface of a body of water.

Origin of surfacing

First recorded in 1855–60; surface + -ing1




the outer face, outside, or exterior boundary of a thing; outermost or uppermost layer or area.
any face of a body or thing: the six surfaces of a cube.
extent or area of outer face; superficial area.
the outward appearance, especially as distinguished from the inner nature: to look below the surface of a matter.
Geometry. any figure having only two dimensions; part or all of the boundary of a solid.
land or sea transportation, rather than air, underground, or undersea transportation.
Aeronautics. an airfoil.


of, on, or pertaining to the surface; external.
apparent rather than real; superficial: to be guilty of surface judgments.
of, relating to, or via land or sea: surface mail.
Linguistics. belonging to a late stage in the transformational derivation of a sentence; belonging to the surface structure.

verb (used with object), sur·faced, sur·fac·ing.

to finish the surface of; give a particular kind of surface to; make even or smooth.
to bring to the surface; cause to appear openly: Depth charges surfaced the sub. So far we've surfaced no applicants.

verb (used without object), sur·faced, sur·fac·ing.

to rise to the surface: The submarine surfaced after four days.
to work on or at the surface.

Origin of surface

1605–15; < French, equivalent to sur- sur-1 + face face, apparently modeled on Latin superficies superficies
Related formssur·face·less, adjectivesur·fac·er, nounnon·sur·face, noun, adjectiveun·sur·faced, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for surfacing

materialize, emerge, appear, arise, transpire, rise

Examples from the Web for surfacing

Contemporary Examples of surfacing

Historical Examples of surfacing

British Dictionary definitions for surfacing



  1. the exterior face of an object or one such face
  2. (as modifier)surface gloss
  1. the area or size of such a face
  2. (as modifier)surface measurements
material resembling such a face, with length and width but without depth
  1. the superficial appearance as opposed to the real nature
  2. (as modifier)a surface resemblance
  1. the complete boundary of a solid figure
  2. a continuous two-dimensional configuration
  1. the uppermost level of the land or sea
  2. (as modifier)surface transportation
come to the surface to emerge; become apparent
on the surface to all appearances


to rise or cause to rise to or as if to the surface (of water, etc)
(tr) to treat the surface of, as by polishing, smoothing, etc
(tr) to furnish with a surface
(intr) mining
  1. to work at or near the ground surface
  2. to wash surface ore deposits
(intr) to become apparent; emerge
(intr) informal
  1. to wake up
  2. to get up
Derived Formssurfaceless, adjectivesurfacer, noun

Word Origin for surface

C17: from French, from sur on + face face, probably on the model of 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 surfacing



1610s, from French surface "outermost boundary of anything, outside part" (16c.), from Old French sur- "above" (see sur-) + face (see face (n.)). Patterned on Latin superficies "surface" (see superficial).



"come to the surface," 1898, from surface (n.). Earlier it meant "bring to the surface" (1885), and "to give something a polished surface" (1778). Related: Surfaced; surfacing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

surfacing in Medicine




The outer or topmost part of a solid structure.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with surfacing


see on the surface; scratch the surface.

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