superficial (adj.)

late 14c., in anatomical and mathematical uses, "of or relating to a surface," from Late Latin superficialis "of or pertaining to the surface," from superficies "surface, upper side, top," from super "above, over" (see super-) + facies "form, face" (see face (n.)). Meaning "not deep, without thorough understanding, cursory, comprehending only what is apparent or obvious" (of perceptions, thoughts, etc.) first recorded early 15c. (implied in superficially "not thoroughly").

updated on December 29, 2013

Definitions of superficial from WordNet

superficial (adj.)
hasty and without attention to detail; not thorough;
In his paper, he showed a very superficial understanding of psychoanalytic theory
superficial (adj.)
concerned with or comprehending only what is apparent or obvious; not deep or penetrating emotionally or intellectually;
superficial knowledge
only superficial differences
a superficial mind
his thinking was superficial and fuzzy
the superficial report didn't give the true picture
superficial similarities
superficial (adj.)
of, affecting, or being on or near the surface;
the superficial area of the wall
a superficial wound
superficial measurements
superficial (adj.)
of little substance or significance;
a few superficial editorial changes
Synonyms: trivial
superficial (adj.)
occurring on or near the surface of the skin;
superficial facial injuries
superficial burns
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.