noun con·tour \ˈkän-ˌtr\

: the outline or outer edge of something

Full Definition of CONTOUR

:  an outline especially of a curving or irregular figure :  shape; also :  the line representing this outline
:  the general form or structure of something :  characteristic —often used in plural <contours of a melody>
:  a usually meaningful change in intonation in speech

Examples of CONTOUR

  1. He loved the sleek contours of the car.
  2. The map showed the contour of the coastline.

Origin of CONTOUR

French, from Italian contorno, from contornare to round off, from Medieval Latin, to turn around, from Latin com- + tornare to turn on a lathe — more at turn
First Known Use: 1662

Synonym Discussion of CONTOUR

outline, contour, profile, silhouette mean the line that bounds and gives form to something. outline applies to a line marking the outer limits or edges of a body or mass <traced the outline of his hand>. contour stresses the quality of an outline or a bounding surface as being smooth, jagged, curving, or sharply angled <a car with flowing contours>. profile suggests a varied and sharply defined outline against a lighter background <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 <photograph in silhouette against a bright sky>.



Definition of CONTOUR

:  following contour lines or forming furrows or ridges along them <contour flooding> <contour farming>
:  made to fit the contour of something <a contour couch> <contour sheets>

First Known Use of CONTOUR


Other Agriculture/Gardening Terms

fallow, graft, heirloom, loam, potash, soilage, swath, tilth, windfall



Definition of CONTOUR

transitive verb
a :  to shape the contour of
b :  to shape so as to fit contours
:  to construct (as a road) in conformity to a contour

First Known Use of CONTOUR


Other Civil Engineering Terms

asphalt, ballast, barrage, cantilever, infrastructure, sluice
CONTOURS Defined for Kids


noun con·tour \ˈkän-ˌtr\

Definition of CONTOUR for Kids

:  the outline of a figure, body, or surface <the contour of the coastline>


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