surface

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scrape (someone or something) up off (something)

To peel or gather something or someone up from some surface, such as the floor or the road, especially when that person or thing is or seems to be stuck to it. I passed out after drinking at the party until 6 AM, and I had to be scraped up off the floor the next morning. I spent about an hour last night scraping dried pizza cheese up off the carpet.
See also: off, scrape, up

skim the surface (of something)

To do, engage with, or understand something to only a minimal or superficial degree. I know you feel like you know everything about philosophy now, but this introductory course only skims the surface. Jack never felt satisfied devoting his time and attention to one thing, so instead he's skimmed the surface of a number of hobbies and interests.
See also: skim, surface

look beneath the surface

To focus on the deeper aspects of something, as opposed to the traits that are most easily identified. When you write your book reports, please look beneath the surface of the text and analyze the author's stylistic choices.
See also: beneath, look, surface

raise someone or something to the surface (of something)

to bring someone or something up to the surface of a body of water. The pull of the inflatable life vest raised Tom to the surface of the water. The divers were able to raise the sunken ship to the surface.
See also: raise, surface

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.
See also: scratch, surface

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.
See also: scratch, surface

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.
See also: scratch, surface

on the surface

Superficially, to all outward appearances, as in On the surface he appeared brave and patriotic, but his troops knew better. [Early 1700s]
See also: on, surface

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

on the surface

To all intents and purposes; to all outward appearances: a soldier who, on the surface, appeared brave and patriotic.
See also: on, surface