scratch the surface


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scratch the surface

 
1. Lit. to scratch something just on the surface, not extending the mark below the finish into the wood, stone, marble, below. There is no serious damage done to the bench. You only scratched the surface.
2. Fig. to just begin to find out about something; to examine only the superficial aspects of something. The investigation of the governor's staff revealed some suspicious dealing. It is thought that the investigators have just scratched the surface. We don't know how bad the problem is. We've only scratched the surface.
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scratch the surface

to deal with only a small part of a subject or a problem All the payments we've made so far have hardly scratched the surface of the total we borrowed.
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scratch the surface

if you scratch the surface of a subject or a problem, you only discover or deal with a very small part of it (usually + of ) Up to now newspaper articles have only scratched the surface of this tremendously complex issue.
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scratch the surface

Investigate or treat something superficially, as in This feed-the-hungry program only scratches the surface of the problem, or Her survey course barely scratches the surface of economic history. This metaphoric term transfers shallow markings made in a stone or other material to a shallow treatment of a subject or issue. [Early 1900s]
See also: scratch, surface

scratch the surface

To investigate or treat something in superficial or preliminary fashion.
See also: scratch, surface
References in periodicals archive ?
Scratch the surface almost anywhere in Rome and you will find a scrap of history.
I think we've only begun to scratch the surface in terms of the bottle-can's appeal and market reach," said Ed Martin, CCL's vice president of sales & marketing.
But these facts just scratch the surface of an increasingly fragmented market for jewelry, according to a new study of the jewelry market by Unity Marketing.
We have just begun to scratch the surface when it comes to applications of our magnet technology," said Mr.
In order to scratch the surface of the PBGC's potential role in auto lease securitizations, three key questions come to mind.
We have only begun to scratch the surface of the opportunities available to us in this market and believe that it will be a growth driver for us in the future.
I believe the medical and scientific community is just beginning to scratch the surface of the advantages of upright MRI and that many more advantages of positional MRI (pMRI) will be uncovered.