surface


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below the surface

Into or among the deeper aspects of something, as opposed to those that are most easily identified. When you write your book reports, please look below the surface of the text and analyze the author's stylistic choices.
See also: below, surface

beneath the surface

Into or among the deeper aspects of something, as opposed to those 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, 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

on the surface

Superficially; considering only the obvious details or outward appearance (of someone or something). On the surface, he seems like a really successful businessman, with his life all put together. But if you pull back the curtain a bit, you realize that his life is a mess. Everything looked fine on the surface, but after we began we realized that the plan was fundamentally flawed.
See also: on, surface

raise (someone or something) to the surface

To lift someone or something or cause someone or something to float up to the surface of a body of liquid. We attached floatation devices to the swimmer's arms to raise her to the surface. A fleet of 15 two-person submarines attached harnesses to the ancient structure in an effort to raise it to the surface.
See also: raise, surface

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

scratch 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 scratches the surface. Jack never felt satisfied devoting his time and attention to one thing, so instead he's scratched the surface of a number of hobbies and interests.
See also: scratch, surface

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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

scratch the surface

COMMON If you only scratch the surface of something, you deal with or benefit from a very small part of something much bigger. The council have managed to provide housing for over ten thousand homeless people but they say they have only scratched the surface of the problem. At 13, her potential as a player is enormous and she has only scratched the surface of what she can do.
See also: scratch, surface
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

scratch the surface

1 deal with a matter only in the most superficial way. 2 initiate the briefest investigation to discover something concealed.
See also: scratch, surface
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

scratch the ˈsurface (of something)

deal with, understand, or find out about only a small part of a subject or problem: This report only scratches the surface of the problem. OPPOSITE: get to the bottom of something
See also: scratch, surface

below/beneath the ˈsurface

what you cannot see but can only guess at or feel: She seems very calm but beneath the surface I’m sure that she’s very upset.Beneath the surface of this beautiful city there is terrible poverty and suffering, which tourists never see.
See also: below, beneath, surface

on the ˈsurface

when you consider the obvious things, and not the deeper, hidden things: On the surface she can be very pleasant and helpful, but underneath she’s got problems.The plan seems all right on the surface.
See also: on, surface
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

scratch the surface, to

To perform a task or investigate something superficially. This term comes from agriculture, where merely scratching the surface of the earth does not adequately prepare the soil for planting. It was transferred to other activities by the early 1900s. “You haven’t seen anything. They didn’t scratch the surface here,” wrote Lillian Hellman (Days to Come, 1936).
See also: scratch
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Light reflected from the first surface is assumed to maintain its original polarization (i.e., incident and reflected light are of like polarization) while any light reflected through volumetric scattering is assumed to be totally depolarized.
Says Gutowski, "When you oxidize the surface you actually convert some elements of the plastic into chemically receptive sites, such as hydroxyl [OH] or carboxyl [COOH] groups.
The future of the global composite surface film market looks promising with opportunities in the aerospace & defense, automotive and other industries.
Unfortunately, the Surface Pro 6 still has the same array of ports that are found on its predecessor.
The Surface Analyst allows manufacturers to quantify the effectiveness of their surface-treatment processes, such as flame and corona treatment.
Dissolving the polymer in an organic solvent produced a paint that can be brushed or sprayed onto a surface, or an object can be dipped into the paint.
Although the visual appearance of a failure is not always indicative of the cause, in particular where there are very thin surface coatings, the observation of the brown color was of concern since it often is associated with rusting.
"We recognize that a lot of the capability under the Army modularity has been redirected to the tactical level, and the DM4-S, Surface Mobility Division, steps in to provide an efficient surface deployment operation," Stark said.
In order to satisfy the growing demand for fitness and sports specific surfaces at all levels of performance, an assortment of hardwood and synthetic floors have been designed to meet varying performance, price and presentation standards.
Surface area affected the results The loaf pan has a larger surface area than the mug.
The goal was to develop surface modeling software fully integrated with--and that complements--other Component Application Architecture V5 (CAAV5)-based software products from Dassault, namely Catia (for the product definition of mechanical parts and systems), Delmia (for manufacturing process definition), Enovia (for lifecycle management), and Smarteam (for Web-based product data management).
Starch application in papermaking dates back to the invention of paper itself 2000 years ago, when starch was applied to paper for a stronger, smoother writing surface. For mineral filler containing papers, starch is the highest volume raw material after water, fiber, and fillers.
Russia delivered 370 tanks and self-propelled guns, 300 APCs and armored cars, 4 major surface combatants, 2 minor surface combatants, 1 submarine, 240 supersonic combat aircraft, 200 helicopters, 770 surface-to-air missiles, and 70 anti-ship missiles.
But pollutants can't penetrate an impervious surface, and the rapid flow of rainwater off of impervious surfaces means these pollutants end up in the water.