(redirected from surfaces)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia.
Related to surfaces: equipotential surfaces

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

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

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

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
References in classic literature ?
I had not long to wait, for presently the golden surface commenced to move rapidly.
Illusion, Temperament, Succession, Surface, Surprise, Reality, Subjectiveness,--these are threads on the loom of time, these are the lords of life.
Instead of the generous spread of surface with which it had taken the air, it was now a lean and hawklike monoplane balanced on long and exceedingly narrow wings.
These cirripedes have no branchiae, the whole surface of the body and sack, including the small frena, serving for respiration.
On each side of the lower surface, or foot, there is a broad membrane, which appears sometimes to act as a ventilator, in causing a current of water to flow over the dorsal branchiae or lungs.
The water scarcely reached my waist; the sand was firm and covered with ripple marks, and I waded ashore in great spirits, leaving the HISPANIOLA on her side, with her main-sail trailing wide upon the surface of the bay.
At the centre of the island there is a chasm about fifty yards in diameter, whence the astronomers descend into a large dome, which is therefore called FLANDONA GAGNOLE, or the astronomer's cave, situated at the depth of a hundred yards beneath the upper surface of the adamant.
If such an animal is in existence, if it inhabits the depths of the ocean, if it frequents the strata lying miles below the surface of the water, it must necessarily possess an organisation the strength of which would defy all comparison.
Their proprietor inserting his head into the midst of them, impelled his necklace of cocoanuts through the water by striking out beneath the surface with his feet.
Then it began to grow and brighten, and he knew that he was rising toward the surface -- knew it with reluctance, for he was now very comfortable.
Even if we should come to unpleasant places on our way it is necessary, in order to reach the earth's surface, to keep moving on toward it.
Our seats, into which we strapped ourselves, were so arranged upon transverse bars that we would be upright whether the craft were ploughing her way downward into the bowels of the earth, or running horizontally along some great seam of coal, or rising vertically toward the surface again.
I often wondered how it had happened that I had ever survived the first ten years of my life within the inner world, when, naked and primitively armed, I had traversed great areas of her beast-ridden surface.
Still clutching his spear, he struck the water, and sank beneath its surface, plumbing the depths.
Instead, he filled his lungs with air before the huge reptile dragged him beneath the surface, and then, with all the might of his great muscles, fought bitterly for freedom.