1610s, from French surface "an outermost boundary, outside part" (16c.), from Old French sur- "above" (see sur-) + face (see face (n.)). Patterned on Latin superficies "surface, upper side, top" (see superficial). As an adjective from 1660s.
"come to the surface," 1898, from surface (n.). Earlier it meant "bring to the surface" (1885), and "to give something a (polished) surface" (1778). Related: Surfaced; surfacing.
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