skim the surface (of something)

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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
References in periodicals archive ?
The breadth of the study means that Fagan skims the surface of each topic rather than delving deep into any of them, but in each chapter he includes a brief sidebar presenting a particularly telling anecdote.
Gervais only skims the surface of Victor and Pauline and barely touches on Sean.
Bits begins with a brief but complimentary preface by Carol Burnett that only skims the surface of their long collaboration.
VIEW OF THE NORTH: The misty water skims the surface of the pebbled beach, at Seaham, leaving a lovely wet shine on the stones in this picture by Lynne Berry > Send your views of the North East and Cumbria to Richard Kirkman at pics@ncjmedia.co.uk Please include address and daytime telephone numbers.
The minority chosen to represent the select number of university teams, however, merely skims the surface of the large number of students who take part in university sport.
Yet Cooper consistently skims the surface of these crucial themes in her story.
Since the life and work of Peruvian novelist-essayist journalist-politician Mario Vargas Llosa can hardly be crammed into a 75-minute documentary, "Mario Vargas Llosa: The Biography" skims the surface of the writer's varied and vast body of work.
PR may be the sun of the future and advertising the winds of change, but this book only skims the surface of the debate, and it's still too soon to rest assured that PR will indeed prevail.
Indeed, the report merely skims the surface of a very murky episode.
Haskins' book is a little dry and academic with its copious footnotes, and only skims the surface of the issues which are part and parcel of hip hop and rap (the gang violence and shootings of stars such as 2Pac and Notorious BIG).
But, ultimately, Levy only skims the surface of virtually every topic he tackles, often insulting the reader's intelligence by offering the most simplistic and cliche-ridden words of advice.
For example, the chapter entitled, "An old idea--A contemporary approach," only skims the surface of cohousing's predecessors and does not offer a single footnote for the inquiring mind to pursue.
Despite a perfect setup, the novel superficially skims the surface of class and race, relying on many stereotypical characters and situations that go unexplored and unchallenged.
Yet the author only just skims the surface of such disasters and the result is a vague worst-case-scenario hand-wringing that is more likely to annoy--or even offend--than to inspire readers to get prepared.
All the characters lead lives of not-so-quiet desperation, but Montero just skims the surface of their problems; an ample bank account and/or a satisfactory love life seem to be the sole concerns of this collection of extreme urban neurotics.