more (to it) than meets the eye

more (to it) than meets the eye

One is seeing only the surface or a portion of something that has a deeper or larger significance. This nineteenth-century term became a favorite British cliché, as well as the object of fun. John Galsworthy used it in The Man of Property (1906): “‘There’s more here, sir,’ says the Inspector over the dead body, ‘than meets the eye.’” Critic Alexander Woollcott quoted actress Tallulah Bankhead as quipping about the revival of a play by Maurice Maeterlinck, “There is less in this than meets the eye.” See also tip of the iceberg, (only) the.
See also: eye, meet, more