Meaning of SURFACE in English


I. sur ‧ face 1 S3 W1 /ˈsɜːfəs, ˈsɜːfɪs $ ˈsɜːr-/ BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Word Family: verb : ↑ surface , ↑ resurface ; noun : ↑ surface ; adjective : ↑ surface ]

[ Date: 1600-1700 ; Language: French ; Origin: sur- ( ⇨ ↑ surcharge ) + face 'face' ]

1 . WATER/LAND the top layer of an area of water or land

surface of

Dead leaves floated on the surface of the water.

Nearly 10% of the Earth’s surface is covered by ice.

Gas bubbles in any liquid tend to rise to the surface.

beneath/under/below the surface

The tunnel was some 300 feet below the surface.

2 . OUTSIDE/TOP LAYER the outside or top layer of something

surface of

the surface of the vase

The road surfaces tend to be worse in the towns than in the country.

a frying pan with a non-stick surface

on sth’s surface

mold growing on the cheese’s surface

3 . PERSON/SITUATION ETC the surface the qualities, emotions etc of someone or something that are easy to notice, but which are not the only or not the real qualities, emotions etc

on the surface

On the surface, it seems a simple story.

Half an hour later, Enid had calmed down, at least on the surface.

beneath the surface

I sensed a lot of tension and jealousy beneath the surface.

Prejudice is never far beneath the surface (=often appears) in the region.

rise/be brought/come to the surface

Violence has risen to the surface in the inner city.

4 . FOR WORKING ON a flat area on the top of a cupboard, table, desk etc, that you use for cooking or working on

work/kitchen surface

Keep kitchen surfaces clean and tidy.

Work on a clean, flat surface.

5 . SIDE OF AN OBJECT one of the sides of an object:

How many surfaces does a cube have?

⇨ scratch the surface at ↑ scratch 1 (8)

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ adjectives

▪ the upper/top surface

The upper surface of the leaf is dull green.

▪ the outer/inner surface

The outer surface of the shell is ridged.

▪ smooth

Marble provides a cool smooth surface.

▪ rough

I reached out and touched the rough surface of the stone wall.

▪ textured (=not smooth, because of its design)

Many floor tiles have textured surfaces to make them less slippery underfoot.

▪ hard

The path has a hard surface suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

▪ shiny

This type of cloth has a shiny surface on one side.

▪ polished

I didn't want to spill anything on the polished surface of the table.

▪ slippery

The sign read: ‘Beware: slippery surface.’

▪ flat

Put the compass on a flat surface.

II. surface 2 BrE AmE verb

[ Word Family: verb : ↑ surface , ↑ resurface ; noun : ↑ surface ; adjective : ↑ surface ]

1 . [intransitive] if information, feelings, or problems surface, they become known about or easy to notice

surface in

Rumors about the killings have begun to surface in the press.

the jealousy that had surfaced in her

2 . [intransitive] if someone or something surfaces, they suddenly appear somewhere, especially after being gone or hidden for a long time SYN pop up :

Last year Toole surfaced again in Cuba.

3 . [intransitive] to rise to the surface of water:

divers surfacing near the boat

4 . [intransitive] British English informal to get out of bed, especially late:

Joe never surfaces before midday on Sunday.

5 . [transitive] to put a surface on a road

III. surface 3 BrE AmE adjective [only before noun]

[ Word Family: verb : ↑ surface , ↑ resurface ; noun : ↑ surface ; adjective : ↑ surface ]

1 . relating to the part of the army, navy etc that travels by land or on the sea, rather than by air or under the sea:

the Navy’s surface forces

2 . appearing to be true or real, but not representing what someone really feels or what something is really like SYN superficial :

Beneath the surface calm, she felt very insecure.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.