surface - definition and synonyms


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  1. 1
    [countable] the top layer or outside part of something

    Wipe the surface with a damp cloth.

    a smooth/rough/hard surface

    Road surfaces are slippery from the icy rain.

    1. a.
      the top layer of water or land

      the surface of Mars

      We saw fish swimming just under the surface of the water.

      A farmer was spreading fertilizer over the surface of the soil.

  2. 2
    [countable] a flat area of a desk, table etc that you use for working on

    Papers and books covered the surface of the desk.

    All surfaces in the kitchen should be carefully cleaned.

    1. a.
      a flat area used for playing sports, or the material used for making this area

      Many tennis players dislike the grass surface at Wimbledon.

      His favourite surface is clay.

  3. 3
    [singular] the way that someone or something looks or seems while their true feeling or character remains hidden

    Underneath his cool surface was a growing sense of insecurity.

    on the surface:

    On the surface, they looked like a happily married couple.

    beneath the surface:

    Hostility lies beneath the surface of calm in the region.

    1. a.
      the aspect of someone’s inner feeling that they show in their behaviour or appearance

      He could feel his frustration and rage rising to the surface.

  4. 4
    [countable] maths one of the sides of an object

    A cube has six surfaces.