Definition of superficially in US English:



  • 1As to the outward appearance only; on the surface.

    as submodifier ‘the theory is superficially attractive’
    sentence adverb ‘superficially, they have little in common’
    • ‘The starting point for these issues is really clause 3, which seems superficially to be straightforward.’
    • ‘An idealist foreign policy sounds superficially more "moral" than the calculation of national interest, but it leads easily to self-righteous crusading.’
    • ‘Art is made in the name of Nature, and Nature, superficially at least, is chaotic.’
    • ‘However, there was method to their superficially lumpen violence.’
    • ‘A superficially similar but diametrically opposed practice exists among certain bloggers.’
    • ‘They discuss the fact that to the great surprise of security and government officials, so many seemingly disparate and superficially incompatible groups came together to participate in the protests.’
    • ‘For the rest, the event that was going to change everything has, superficially, altered nothing much.’
    • ‘Superficially colorful, lively, and entertaining, this dance is instantly forgettable.’
    • ‘Superficially there were few changes in the character of politics around the middle of the century.’
    • ‘The record also demonstrates how far Kennedy has developed his gift for expressing complex ideas within a superficially simple lyric.’
    • ‘Superficially, 2004 has been a reasonable year for our personal finances.’
    • ‘Superficially, telecoms and international aviation have certain similarities between them.’
    • ‘Even in superficially symmetrical organisms, there is almost always some consistent deviation from absolute symmetry.’
    • ‘Their goal is superficially to avenge their friend's death, but in reality they have darker motives.’
    • ‘Like much of the play, it is superficially amusing but ultimately horrifying.’
    • ‘For whatever reasons, Britain has become a much more tolerant society - at least superficially - over the intervening decades.’
    • ‘Superficially, their Cold War roles might seem to have been remarkably similar.’
    • ‘The two films, at least superficially, do not have that much in common, aside from British-born writers and directors.’
    • ‘Adults rarely correct children's speech - much of which is superficially ungrammatical.’
    • ‘The Cost Accounting Department was churning out monthly reports that were superficially very impressive.’
    • ‘This superficially mawkish fairy tale is subverted by a remarkable combination of comic brutality, acute formalism, and inconsolable sorrow.’
    • ‘The results were superficially impressive, but already in the 1950s there was trouble beneath the surface.’
    apparently, seemingly, ostensibly, outwardly, on the surface, on the face of it, to all appearances, to all intents and purposes, at first glance, at face value, to the casual eye
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  • 2Not thoroughly or deeply.

    ‘I understood the issue only superficially’
    • ‘But it is worth first pausing to look back, however briefly and superficially, over a longer sweep.’
    • ‘The ecology and behavior of North American hummingbirds have been studied in considerable detail, but their wing morphology has been described only superficially.’
    • ‘To say Aileen chose prostitution is to only superficially understand the impact of what people did to her.’
    • ‘As a journalist you tend to be covering a lot of different things superficially.’
    • ‘Seely superficially analyzes the main methods of counting annual layers.’
    • ‘Tempelhof in his history of the Seven Years War is the earliest writer who gives it regularly, but at the same time he does it only very superficially.’
    • ‘Kosky, who seems unable to explore the emotional qualities of this drama in any real depth, treats them superficially.’
    • ‘Well I'm concerned that there isn't an automatic requirement to include environmental issues however superficially.’
    • ‘At the heart of the movie is the romance between Richard and Elise, which is only superficially explored.’
    • ‘And his warning to the people, particularly the youth, is not to look at the problems of globalisation superficially.’
    • ‘This book articulates the principles and practice of breast cytopathology superficially, but rather clearly.’
    • ‘The series I thought treated these stories too superficially in the time allotted, but a stellar cast makes the most of it.’
    • ‘But here we must take care not to judge people's ideology superficially, by merely looking at their insignia or uniforms.’
    • ‘The article references Eggers ' old thing about criticism, but deals with it too superficially.’
    • ‘But each is so superficially sketched that it is hard to develop a connection with any of them.’
    • ‘Although the premise is centered around 1970s male chauvinism, the script only examines this topic superficially.’
    • ‘Such layering makes the painting inaccessible to anyone responding to it hastily or superficially.’
    • ‘He superficially addresses such issues as poverty on reservations, suicide rates, alcoholism and the consequences of alcohol consumption, and accident rates.’
    • ‘When he touches upon Poe's themes, he does so superficially, or obscurely.’
    • ‘However, these topics are all covered rather superficially.’
  • 3At or on the surface or skin.

    ‘he was superficially wounded in the neck’
    • ‘In this case, blood from the thenar eminence has migrated proximally and appears superficially at the proximal and distal palmar creases, where the fascia comes through the carpal tunnel.’
    • ‘In more basal vertebrates, cartilaginous structures can become superficially calcified in at least two different modes.’
    • ‘The first case occurred in a 73-year-old man with a history of superficially invasive transitional cell carcinoma who presented with macroscopic hematuria and anemia.’
    • ‘Small, metal objects deeply embedded in soft tissue pose a lower risk for complication than even superficially embedded organic material, such as wood.’
    • ‘What I saw was a small piece of metal sticking very superficially in the skin of Kerry's arm.’
    • ‘Veins run both deep in the legs and superficially under the skin.’
    • ‘The nerve may be avoided by staying superficially on the fascia and by being aware of the location of the fibula.’
    • ‘Indentation can only occur when a track surface is reasonably abrasive - ie when it has a number of imperfections that will superficially impact on the tyre tread.’
    • ‘Biopsies of the epiglottic mass showed fragments of a superficially ulcerated lesion overlying a dense histiocytic infiltrate.’
    • ‘This cooking method allows small pieces of food to be seared and cooked very superficially, thus retaining their texture and flavour.’