May 15, 2013
- contour (noun)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : the outline of a figure, body, or surface2 : a line or drawing showing an outline
- How do you use it?
- "Her straight, well-formed nose, her finely-cut mouth, and the graceful contour of her head and neck, showed that she must once have been beautiful; but her face was deeply wrinkled with lines of pain, and of proud and bitter endurance." (Harriet Beecher Stowe, _Uncle Tom's Cabin_)
- Are you a word wiz?
Which word do you think is a synonym of "contour"?"Contour," "profile," "outline," and "silhouette" refer to a line that marks a boundary or gives form to something. "Outline" applies to a line marking something's outer limits or edges, as in "tracing the outline of his hand." "Contour" stresses the quality of an outline or a bounding surface as being smooth, jagged, curving, or sharply angled, as in "a car with flowing contours" or "the contour of the land." "Profile" suggests a varied and sharply defined outline against a lighter background, as in "a portrait of her face in profile." "Silhouette" suggests a shape especially of a head or figure with all detail blacked out in shadow leaving only the outline clearly defined, as in "the castle's dark silhouette against the bright sky."