outline#

outline#
outline n 1 Outline, contour, proñle, skyline, silhouette mean the boundary lines which give form or shape to a body, a mass, or a figure.
Outline refers to a line which marks or seems to mark the outer edge or limits of a thing
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at night, the outline of the shore is traced in transparent silver by the moonlight and the flying foam— Stevenson

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looked at the big house. The dark outline against the dark sky made him hesitate— Caldwell

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in good years the outline of the cultivated area expands—P. E. James

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Contour does not fix the attention on an edge or limit but on the outer lines, particularly the curving lines, of a thing's shape as indicative of its grace or lack of grace, its fullness or slenderness, its softness or harshness
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the full and flowing contour of the neck— Shelley

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a child, of timid, soft contoursHewlett

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the blurred contour of Rainbarrow obstructed the sky— Hardy

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Specifically, contour applies to lines (contour lines) in a map (contour map) that indicate the details of elevation of a country or tract of land.
Profile applies primarily to the representation or the appearance of something in outline, especially of a face in side view showing the contour of the head and emphasizing the line from forehead to under the chin
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lips lovely in profile—a little too wide and hard . . . seen in front— Ruskin

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Consequently, profile is often preferred when a varied and sharply defined outline as seen against a background is implied
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out on the horizon you could see a tanker, small and neat in profile against the blue sea— Hemingway

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although skyline may be chosen as more specific when the background is the sky
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the skyline of New York City

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gracious towers and spires make up the loveliest man-made skyline in the world— Pollock

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Silhouette in its primary sense applies to a likeness of someone or something made by or as if by tracing the outline of his or its shadow on dark material (as black paper), cutting this out, and mounting it against a contrasting background. In extended use silhouette, even more than outline or profile, eliminates all consideration of such details as color, quality, and expression and implies an outline seen in or as if in a shadow
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from the distance at which we stood and because of the brightness of the sun behind them, we saw the two figures only in silhouette

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the silhouette made a blue-black stain on the opposite wall— Lowell

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with a little imagination, he could find . . . the face of a dead man in the silhouette of the mountains— Bemelmans

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Analogous words: figure, *form, shape, conformation, configuration
2 sketch, diagram, delineation, draft, tracing, plot, blueprint (see under SKETCH vb)
outline vb *sketch, diagram, delineate, draft, trace, plot, blueprint

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Outline — Out line , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Outlined}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Outlining}.] 1. To draw the outline of. [1913 Webster] 2. Fig.: To sketch out or indicate as by an outline; to create a general framework of (a plan, system, discourse, course of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Outline — Out line , n. 1. (a) The line which marks the outer limits of an object or figure; the exterior line or edge; contour. (b) In art: A line drawn by pencil, pen, graver, or the like, by which the boundary of a figure is indicated. (c) A sketch… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • Outline —   [dt. Umriss], Schriftattribut …   Universal-Lexikon

  • outline — ► NOUN 1) a line or lines enclosing or indicating the shape of an object in a sketch or diagram. 2) the contours or outer edges of an object. 3) a general plan showing essential features but no detail. ► VERB 1) draw or define the outer edge or… …   English terms dictionary

  • outline — {{Roman}}I.{{/Roman}} noun 1 line that shows the shape/outside edge of sb/sth ADJECTIVE ▪ clear, sharp ▪ The sharp outline of the island had become blurred. ▪ dim, faint, vague …   Collocations dictionary

  • outline — out|line1 [ˈautlaın] n 1.) [U and C] the main ideas or facts about something, without the details ▪ a research proposal outline outline of ▪ an outline of world history broad/rough/general outline ▪ a broad outline of the committee s plans in… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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