Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1300-1400
Language: Late Latin
Origin: superficialis, from Latin superficies 'surface', from facies 'face'

superficial

adjective
     
Related topics: Earth Sciences
su‧per‧fi‧cial
1

not looking/studying carefully

not studying or looking at something carefully and only seeing the most noticeable things
superficial examination/study etc
Even a superficial inspection revealed serious flaws.
Naturally, such visits can allow only the most superficial understanding of prison life.
2

appearance

seeming to have a particular quality, although this is not true or real
superficial resemblance/similarity
Despite their superficial similarities, the two novels are in fact very different.
Beneath his refined manners and superficial elegance lay something treacherous.
at/on a superficial level
At a superficial level, things seem to have remained the same.
3

wound/damage

affecting only the surface of your skin or the outside part of something, and therefore not serious:
She escaped with only superficial cuts and bruises.
superficial damage
4

person

someone who is superficial does not think about things that are serious or important - used to show disapproval [= shallow]:
All the other girls seemed silly and superficial to Darlene.
5

not important

superficial changes, difficulties etc are not important and do not have a big effect [= minor]:
superficial changes in government policies
6

top layer

HE existing in or relating to the top layer of something, especially soil, rock etc
superficially adverb
superficiality noun [uncountable]

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