Surficial vs. Superficial - What's the difference?


  • Surficial (adjective)

    Of or pertaining to the surface of something, particularly the surface of the Earth.

    "When the soil swells on wetting, the former surficial material is mixed with the subsoil."

  • Superficial (adjective)

    Of or pertaining to the surface.

  • Superficial (adjective)

    Being near the surface.

  • Superficial (adjective)

    Shallow, lacking substance.

  • Superficial (adjective)

    At face value.

  • Superficial (adjective)

    Two-dimensional; drawn on a flat surface.

  • Superficial (noun)

    A surface detail.

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

Oxford Dictionary

  • Surficial (adjective)

    relating to the earth's surface

    "surficial deposits"

  • Superficial (adjective)

    existing or occurring at or on the surface

    "the building suffered only superficial damage"

  • Superficial (adjective)

    situated or occurring on the skin or immediately beneath it

    "the superficial muscle groups"

  • Superficial (adjective)

    appearing to be true or real only until examined more closely

    "the resemblance between the breeds is superficial"

  • Superficial (adjective)

    not thorough, deep, or complete; cursory

    "he had only the most superficial knowledge of foreign countries"

  • Superficial (adjective)

    lacking depth of character or understanding

    "perhaps I was a superficial person"

  • Superficial (adjective)

    denoting a quantity of a material expressed in terms of area covered rather than linear dimension or volume.

Webster Dictionary

  • Superficial (adjective)

    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.

  • Superficial (adjective)

    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.

Princeton's WordNet

  • Surficial (adjective)

    pertaining to or occurring on or near the earth's surface;

    "a surficial geologic deposit"

  • Superficial (adjective)

    being or affecting or concerned with a surface; 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"

  • Superficial (adjective)

    relating to a surface;

    "superficial measurements"

    "the superficial area of the wall"

  • Superficial (adjective)

    of little substance or significance;

    "a few superficial editorial changes"

    "only trivial objections"

  • Superficial (adjective)

    involving a surface only;

    "her beauty is only skin-deep"

    "superficial bruising"

    "a surface wound"

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