What does superficial mean?

Definitions for superficial
ˌsu pərˈfɪʃ əlsu·per·fi·cial

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word superficial.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. superficialadjective

    concerned with or comprehending only what is apparent or obvious; not deep or penetrating emotionally or intellectually

    "superficial similarities"; "a superficial mind"; "his thinking was superficial and fuzzy"; "superficial knowledge"; "the superficial report didn't give the true picture"; "only superficial differences"

  2. superficialadjective

    of, affecting, or being on or near the surface

    "superficial measurements"; "the superficial area of the wall"; "a superficial wound"

  3. superficial, trivialadjective

    of little substance or significance

    "a few superficial editorial changes"; "only trivial objections"


  1. superficialnoun

    A surface detail.

    He always concentrates on the superficials and fails to see the real issue.

  2. superficialadjective

    Shallow, lacking substance.

  3. superficialadjective

    At face value.

  4. superficialadjective

    Of or pertaining to the surface.

  5. superficialadjective

    Being near the surface.

  6. superficialadjective

    Two-dimensional; drawn on a flat surface.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. SUPERFICIALadjective

    Etymology: superficiel, Fr. from superficies, Latin.

    That, upon the superficial ground, heat and moisture cause putrefaction, in England is found not true. Francis Bacon.

    From these phænomena several have concluded some general rupture in the superficial parts of the earth. Burnet.

    There is not one infidel living so ridiculous as to pretend to solve the phænomena of sight, or cogitation, by those fleeting superficial films of bodies. Richard Bentley.

    This superficial tale
    Is but a preface to her worthy praise. William Shakespeare, Henry VI.

    That knowledge is so very superficial, and so ill-grounded, that it is impossible for them to describe in what consists the beauty of those works. Dryden.


  1. superficial

    Superficial refers to anything that is on the surface, lacking depth, significance, or thoroughness. It can describe something that is only apparent or obvious, without considering anything deeper or more complex. It could also refer to a person's interest or knowledge that is limited to the outward appearance or trivial matters, lacking profound insight or understanding.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Superficialadjective

    of or pertaining to the superficies, or surface; lying on the surface; shallow; not deep; as, a superficial color; a superficial covering; superficial measure or contents; superficial tillage

  2. Superficialadjective

    reaching or comprehending only what is obvious or apparent; not deep or profound; shallow; -- said especially in respect to study, learning, and the like; as, a superficial scholar; superficial knowledge

  3. Etymology: [L. superficialis: cf. F. superficiel. See Superficies.]

How to pronounce superficial?

How to say superficial in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of superficial in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of superficial in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of superficial in a Sentence

  1. Patricia Ho:

    It wasn't an application by the Social Welfare Department as it usually would be, police threw in a bunch of facts they obtained about the family in a very superficial manner.

  2. Seth Galanter:

    It’s a very surface level fix that certainly will make that particular parent happy, but isn’t fulfilling OCR’s obligation, oCR is underfunded and understaffed and in order to get through all the complaints in some kind of timely manner, staff is being forced to give them superficial treatment.

  3. Andrei Lankov:

    Most foreign investments in North Korea have ended badly, but most of those people had very superficial understanding of the place and did not have insider connections, those who did, make good money, but tend to remain very silent about their success because they don't want to attract attention - from any side.

  4. Amrullah Saleh:

    We have come here to tell the government of Afghanistan that we will no longer be satisfied with superficial narratives, we have come here to register a very deep sense of anger and frustration with the process of reform.

  5. Philip Dormer Stanhope Chesterfield:

    Man is more himself, man is more manlike, when joy is the fundamental thing in him, and grief the superficial.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for superficial

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for superficial »


Find a translation for the superficial definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"superficial." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 25 Jun 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/superficial>.

Discuss these superficial definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for superficial? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    remove completely from recognition or memory
    A abash
    B efface
    C abide
    D abase

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for superficial: