Anything superficial has to do with the surface of something. If you’re judging a book by its cover, you’re being superficial. People who worry too much about their clothes and hair may also be considered superficial.

The word superficial has to do with appearances and the surface. If a car is in an accident, but it only has a few scratches, you could say it has superficial damage, because the important parts are OK. If you just glance at a movie for a second, your opinion will be more superficial than the opinion of someone who watched the whole film closely. Superficial can have a negative flavor; calling someone superficial is saying that they are shallow and care too little about meaningful things.

Definitions of superficial
  1. adjective

    of, affecting, or being on or near the surface

    superficial measurements”
    superficial area of the wall”
    superficial wound”

  2. adjective

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

    superficial similarities”
    superficial mind”
    “his thinking was
    superficial and fuzzy”
    superficial knowledge”
    superficial report didn’t give the true picture”
    superficial differences”


    marked by lack of attention or consideration or forethought or thoroughness; not careful

    relating to physical reality rather than with thoughts or the mind
    apparent, ostensible, seeming

    appearing as such but not necessarily so
    dilettante, dilettanteish, dilettantish, sciolistic

    showing frivolous or superficial interest; amateurish

    arrived at without due care or effort; lacking depth

    marked by lack of intellectual depth
    looking, sounding

    appearing to be as specified; usually used as combining forms

    lacking depth of intellect or knowledge; concerned only with what is obvious

    penetrating no deeper than the skin: “her beauty is only skin-deep”

    not serious in content or attitude or behavior
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    showing intellectual penetration or emotional depth

    possessing or displaying a distinctive feature to a heightened degree

    marked by depth of thinking

    having intellectual depth

    characteristic of scholars or scholarship
    show more antonyms…

  3. adjective

    of little substance or significance

    “a few
    superficial editorial changes”

    insignificant, unimportant

    devoid of importance, meaning, or force

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