Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “superficial”

superficial

adjective uk   /ˌsuː.pəˈfɪʃ.əl/ us    /-pɚ-/

superficial adjective (NOT SERIOUS)

C2 disapproving (of a person) never thinking about things that are serious or important: He's fun to be with, but he's very superficial.Not showing careful thought

superficial adjective (NOT COMPLETE)

C2 usually disapproving not complete and involving only the most obvious things: I thought that article was written at a very superficial level. The documentary's treatment/analysis of the issues was very superficial. I only have a superficial (= slight) knowledge of French.Incomplete

superficial adjective (FALSE APPEARANCE)

appearing to be real or important when this is not true or correct: There are superficial similarities between the two cars, but actually they're quite different in terms of performance.Seeming and purporting to beFaking and pretending

superficial adjective (ONLY ON SURFACE)

only on the surface of something: superficial damage The driver only received superficial injuries/cuts/wounds.Not showing careful thought
superficiality
noun [U] uk   /-ˌfɪʃ.iˈæl.ɪ.ti/ us    /-ˌfɪʃ.iˈæl.ə.t̬i/
Not showing careful thoughtIncomplete
superficially
adverb uk   /-i/ us  
C2 The job I've been offered is superficially (= seems to be) attractive/appealing, but I think I might find it boring after a while. Religious education is poorly and superficially taught in most schools.IncompleteSeeming and purporting to beFaking and pretendingNot showing careful thought
(Definition of superficial from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of superficial?
Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Not showing careful thought, but you might be interested in these topics from the Attention and care topic area:

Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “superficial” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

flair

natural ability to do something well

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More