American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Superficial; shallow: a skin-deep acquaintanceship.
- adv. In a shallow manner; superficially.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Not penetrating or extending deeper than the thickness of the skin; superficial.
- In a superficial manner; superficially; slightly.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Not deeper than the skin; hence, superficial.
- adj. penetrating no deeper than the skin:
“I was only fifteen, and I had lived all my days in the thick of the mystery stuff, while my scepticism, very recently acquired, was only skin-deep.”
“Psychologists probably have some big technical words for that extra measure of human understanding that comes to men who have faced suffering and death first hand and some peculiar explanation of why they so often develop a skin-deep toughness that seems to contrast with the idea of playing Santa Claus to hundreds of thousands of young people....”
“The titillating content is still very front and center in this new Skins, but it only goes skin-deep, lacking sting or zing when so clumsily executed.”
“Who knows what prodigious talents have been and are buried by appearance -- skin-deep, perhaps, but nevertheless for most an impenetrable barrier, whether socially constructed or an evolutionary mating-ritual imperative.”
“He was a selfish cry-baby, hidden behind a man's mustache and stature, and glossed over with a skin-deep veneer of culture and conventionality.”
“Actually, the pain barely goes skin-deep, which is about as deep as this shallow dud of a lark ever goes.”
“Meanwhile, investors fears that BP's much-vaunted reforms are skin-deep.”
“Politicians and voters believe what they believe, and those beliefs are more than skin-deep.”
“Here are some questions and answers about flu vaccinations:Q: How does the new skin-deep vaccine work?”
“The capitalist and labor groups are locked together in desperate battle, and neither side is swayed by moral considerations more than skin-deep.”
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A roster of adjectives that infrequently surface in typical conversation and writing. Many are dredged from scientific or other technical jargon or sieved from examples of disused archaic forms.
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