Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The outer or the topmost boundary of an object.
  • noun A material layer constituting such a boundary.
  • noun The boundary of a three-dimensional figure.
  • noun The two-dimensional locus of points located in three-dimensional space.
  • noun A portion of space having length and breadth but no thickness.
  • noun The superficial or external aspect.
  • noun An airfoil.
  • adjective Relating to, on, or at a surface.
  • adjective Relating to or occurring on or near the surface of the earth.
  • adjective Superficial.
  • adjective Apparent as opposed to real.
  • intransitive verb To provide with a surface or apply a surface to.
  • intransitive verb To rise to the surface.
  • intransitive verb To emerge after concealment.
  • intransitive verb To work or dig a mine at or near the surface of the ground.
  • idiom (on the surface) To all intents and purposes; to all outward appearances.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The bounding or limiting parts of a body; the parts of a body which are immediately adjacent to another body or to empty space (or the air); superficies; outside: distinguished as a physical surface.
  • noun The boundary between two solid spaces not adjacent to a third: distinguished as a mathematical surface.
  • noun Outward or external appearance: what appears on a slight view or without examination.
  • noun In fortification, that part of the side which is terminated by the flank prolonged and the angle of the nearest bastion.
  • noun A centrosurface.
  • noun A special case of the above, with four conical points. Generally distinguished as Dupin's cyclide.
  • noun where ϕ = 0 is a primitive surface.
  • noun An elassoidal surface (which see, above): an ordinary use, but not quite accurate.
  • noun A surface generated by the helicoidal motion of a right line.
  • noun The surface often originally, and better, called the Roman surface [discovered by Jacob Steiner (1796-1863), undoubtedly the greatest of all geometricians], being a quartic surface of the third class, having three double lines. In its symmetrical form its appearance is thus described: Take a tetrahedron, and inscribe in each face a circle. There will be, of course, two circles touching at the mid-point of each edge of the tetrahedron; each circle will contain, on its circumference, at angular distances of 120°, three mid-points; and the lines joining these with the center of the tetrahedron, produced beyond the center, meet the opposite edges … joining the mid-points. … Now truncate the tetrahedron by planes parallel to the faces, so as to reduce the altitudes, each to three fourths of the original value; and from the center of each new face round off symmetrically up to the adjacent three circles; and within each circle scoop down to the center of the tetrahedron, the bounding surface of the excavation passing through [that is, containing] the three right lines, and the sections by planes parallel to the face being in the neighborhood of the face nearly circular, but, as they approach the center, assuming a trigoidal form, and being close to the center an indefinitely small equilateral triangle. We have thus the surface, consisting of four lobes united only by the lines through the mid-points of opposite edges—these lines being consequently nodal lines, the mid-points being pinch-points of the surface, and the faces singular planes, each touching the surface along the inscribed circle. (Cayley, Proceedings London Math. Soc., V. 14.)
  • noun More generally, a surface generated by a curve the plane of which moves in any way so that every line in it remains parallel to itself.
  • noun Synonyms Superficies, Exterior, etc. See outside.
  • Of or pertaining to the surface; external; hence, superficial; specious; insincere: as, mere surface politeness or loyalty.
  • To put a surface (of a particular kind) on, or give a (certain) surface to; specifically, to give a fine or even surface to; make plain or smooth.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The exterior part of anything that has length and breadth; one of the limits that bound a solid, esp. the upper face; superficies; the outside.
  • noun Hence, outward or external appearance.
  • noun (Geom.) A magnitude that has length and breadth without thickness; superficies.
  • noun (Fort.) That part of the side which is terminated by the flank prolonged, and the angle of the nearest bastion.
  • noun etc. See under Caustic, Heating, etc.
  • noun See under Condensation, and Condenser.
  • noun (Mach.) an instrument consisting of a standard having a flat base and carrying an adjustable pointer, for gauging the evenness of a surface or its height, or for marking a line parallel with a surface.
  • noun (Zoöl.) the larva of the great yellow underwing moth (Triphœna pronuba). It is often destructive to the roots of grasses and other plants.
  • noun (Mach.) a plate having an accurately dressed flat surface, used as a standard of flatness by which to test other surfaces.
  • noun printing from a surface in relief, as from type, in distinction from plate printing, in which the ink is contained in engraved lines.
  • transitive verb To give a surface to; especially, to cause to have a smooth or plain surface; to make smooth or plain.
  • transitive verb To work over the surface or soil of, as ground, in hunting for gold.
  • intransitive verb To rise from the depths of a liquid to the surface.
  • intransitive verb To become known or public; -- said of information.
  • intransitive verb To show up, as a person who was in hiding.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French : sur-, above (from Old French; see sur–) + face, face (from Old French; see face).]

Examples

  • In a nutshell, about 2% of surface of continental US is “paved surface” – roofs, parking lots, factories, shopping malls, roads, etc.

    Unthreaded #21 « Climate Audit

  • In the polar regions, therefore, the momentum of the surface air preponderates, and, in this case, the _surface_ current is towards the equator, and the upper current towards the poles.

    Outlines of a Mechanical Theory of Storms Containing the True Law of Lunar Influence

  • [grund] sele, 2140. grund-wang, st. m., _ground surface, lowest surface_: acc.sg. þone grund-wong (_bottom of the sea_), 1497; (bottom of the drake's cave), 2772,

    Beowulf

  • [grund] sele, 2140. grund-wang, st. m., _ground surface, lowest surface_: acc.sg. þone grund-wong (_bottom of the sea_), 1497; (bottom of the drake's cave), 2772,

    Beowulf

  • Mr. Danley, when I say 'surface at nine nine five', I mean _surface_! "

    Anchorite

  • The term surface water has not seen the same language simplification that has occurred with the term �groundwater.

    Archive 2009-03-29

  • Murphy also saw his name surface in trade discussions, and figures that no Met is untouchable.

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  • I have lot of respect for Ron Mader so please don´t take this wrong as we live in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas and Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca among friends whenever we choose to do so but this "Responsible Tourism" movement, while certainly commendable on the surface is awash in words more important than results in my judgment.

    Tourism as The White Man�s Burden

  • Plastic infill, in lieu of glass, would provide a better STC, but then plastic scratches and the surface is an attractant for dust as it's surface generally has a static charge - "dirt magnet".

    Dual Pane wood windows

  • Capping the leak at its source 5,000 feet beneath the surface is the top priority, Allen said.

    Officials warn of potential catastrophe from Gulf of Mexico oil spill

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