Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

superficial - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

adjective superficial pronunciation in American English /ˌsupərˈfɪʃ(ə)l/
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    not complete or thorough
    The study is too superficial for us to reach any conclusion.
    I have only a superficial knowledge of the subject.
    She made a quick and superficial examination of the car.
  2. 2
    affecting or involving only the surface or outside part of something
    Her injuries were only superficial.
    The house suffered superficial damage from the flood.
  3. 3
    a superficial person does not think about serious or important things
    Sarah is so superficial, she only cares about how she looks.
    He writes about living in a greedy and superficial society.
    1. a.
      not important or not having a serious effect
      We talked about superficial topics like sports and the weather.
      These are superficial policy changes that help no one.
  4. 4
    used for describing the way that something appears or seems to be although it is really not like this
    Any similarities between the countries are merely superficial.
    The monkeys bear a superficial resemblance but are in fact quite distinct.
  5. 5
    formal in or part of the top layer of something such as skin, soil, or rock
    Superficial tree roots will catch the rain water before it evaporates away.

derived words


 superficial pronunciation in American English /ˌsupərfɪʃɪˈæləti/ noun [uncountable]


a meal served in the evening which consists of foods traditionally eaten at breakfast

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

troll factory

a company that pays its employees to write online comments in favour or against somebody or something posing as ordinary Internet users

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog