Etymology of Superficial


As an adjective, it can be seen registered in the Latin superficiālis, coming from surfaces, which refers to a surface approached from the sense of what can be observed externally, made up of super, above something, with its root in the Indo-European *uper-, as above or on, and facies, referring to the face, reinforcing the idea around the vision from the outside, complemented by the suffix -al, which takes the Latin form -ālis, in order to set its adjectivation.

In the socio-cultural sphere, at the beginning of the 17th century, it indicates the way of thinking of a person who prioritizes irrelevant things or aspects in contrast to essential human values, demonstrating a feeling of individualism, which refers to thinking that they live in a sort of bubble, and are ignorant of the reality of their surroundings and society. Quoted by Shakespeare in his play Measure for Measure, published in 1623, to distinguish an ignorant and unwanted person.

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