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1the outside part or uppermost layer of something (often used when describing its texture, form, or extent):the earth’s surface poor road surfaces the level top of something:roll out the dough on a floured surface (also surface area) the area of such an outer part or uppermost layer:the surface area of a cube [in singular] the upper limit of a body of liquid:fish floating on the surface of the water [in singular] what is apparent on a casual view or consideration of someone or something, especially as distinct from feelings or qualities that are not immediately obvious:Tom was a womanizer, but on the surface he remained respectable [as modifier]:we need to go beyond surface appearances 2 Geometry a continuous set of points that has length and breadth but no thickness.
of, relating to, or occurring on the upper or outer part of something:surface workers at the copper mines denoting ships that travel on the surface of the water as distinct from submarines:the surface fleet carried by or denoting transportation by sea or overland as contrasted with by air:surface mail
1 [no object] rise or come up to the surface of the water or the ground:he surfaced from his dive come to people’s attention; become apparent:the quarrel first surfaced two years ago informal (of a person) appear after having been asleep:it was almost noon before Anthony surfaced 2 [with object]
(usually be surfaced
) provide (something, especially a road) with a particular upper or outer layer:a small path surfaced with terra-cotta tiles