Surface vs Substrate - What's the difference?

surface | substrate |

As nouns the difference between surface and substrate

is that surface is the overside or up-side of a flat object such as a table, or of a liquid while substrate is (biochemistry) what an enzyme acts upon.

As verbs the difference between surface and substrate

is that surface is to provide something with a surface while substrate is (obsolete|transitive) to strew or lay under.

As a adjective substrate is

having very slight furrows.

Other Comparisons: What's the difference?




(en noun)
  • The overside or up-side of a flat object such as a table, or of a liquid.
  • *{{quote-book, year=1963, author=(Margery Allingham), title=(The China Governess)
  • , chapter=Foreword citation , passage=A very neat old woman, still in her good outdoor coat and best beehive hat, was sitting at a polished mahogany table on whose surface there were several scored scratches so deep that a triangular piece of the veneer had come cleanly away,
  • The outside hull of a tangible object.
  • *{{quote-magazine, date=2013-05-11, volume=407, issue=8835, page=80, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= The climate of Tibet: Pole-land , passage=Of all the transitions brought about on the Earth’s surface by temperature change, the melting of ice into water is the starkest. It is binary. And for the land beneath, the air above and the life around, it changes everything.}}
  • *{{quote-magazine, date=2013-07-20, volume=408, issue=8845, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= Welcome to the plastisphere , passage=[The researchers] noticed many of their pieces of [plastic marine] debris sported surface pits around two microns across.}}
  • (lb) Outward or external appearance.
  • :
  • *(Vicesimus Knox) (1752-1821)
  • *:Vain and weak understandings, which penetrate no deeper than the surface .
  • *
  • *:“A tight little craft,” was Austin’s invariable comment on the matron; and she looked it, always trim and trig and smooth of surface like a converted yacht cleared for action. ¶ Near her wandered her husband, orientally bland, invariably affable,.
  • The locus of an equation (especially one with exactly two degrees of freedom) in a more-than-two-dimensional space.
  • (lb) That part of the side which is terminated by the flank prolonged, and the angle of the nearest bastion.
  • :(Stocqueler)
  • Synonyms

    * overside * superfice (archaic)

    Derived terms

    * surface mail * surficial


  • To provide something with a surface.
  • To apply a surface to something.
  • To rise to the surface.
  • To come out of hiding.
  • For information or facts to become known.
  • To work a mine near the surface.
  • To appear or be found.
  • substrate



    (en noun)
  • (biochemistry) What an enzyme acts upon.
  • (biology) A surface on which an organism grows or to which it is attached.
  • The rock surface of a rockpool is the substrate for a sessile organism such as a limpet.
  • An underlying layer; a substratum.
  • (linguistics) A language that is replaced in a population by another language and that influences the language imposed on its speakers.
  • (plating) A metal which is plated with another metal which has different physical properties.
  • (construction) A surface to which a substance adheres.
  • The substance lining the bottom edge of an enclosure.
  • The substrate of an aquarium can affect the water's acidity.
    Stream substrate affects fish longevity.


  • (obsolete) To strew or lay under.
  • * Boyle
  • The melted glass being supported by the substrated sand.


    (en adjective)
  • Having very slight furrows.