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1

silhouette

play
noun sil·hou·ette \ˌsi-lə-ˈwet\

Simple Definition of silhouette

  • : a dark shape in front of a light background

  • : a picture of something showing it as a dark shape on a light background; especially : such a picture showing a person's face from the side

  • : the shape or outline of something

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of silhouette

  1. 1 :  a likeness cut from dark material and mounted on a light ground or one sketched in outline and solidly colored in

  2. 2 :  the outline of a body viewed as circumscribing a mass <the silhouette of a bird>

Examples of silhouette in a sentence

  1. the silhouettes of buildings against the sky

  2. The buildings appeared in silhouette against the sky.

  3. My piano teacher has a framed silhouette of Mozart on her wall.

  4. a portrait of my mother done in silhouette

  5. He admired the sports car's sleek silhouette.



Did You Know?

Before the age of the photograph, the silhouette, either cut from paper or painted, was the most affordable portrait that could be made. The art enjoyed a golden age in the second half of the 18th and first half of the 19th centuries, when many people collected them. Although silhouettes were well-loved, the man for whom they were named was not: Étienne de Silhouette was France's finance minister under Louis XV and was notorious for both his frugality and his hobby of making cut-paper shadow portraits. The phrase à la Silhouette came to mean "on the cheap," and portraits like the ones he produced were (satirically) bestowed with his name as well.

Origin and Etymology of silhouette

French, from Étienne de Silhouette †1767 French controller general of finances; perhaps from his ephemeral tenure


First Known Use: 1783

Synonym Discussion of silhouette

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>.

Other Fine Arts Terms


2

silhouette

transitive verb sil·hou·ette

Simple Definition of silhouette

  • : to make (someone or something) appear as a dark shape in front of a light background

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of silhouette

silhouetted

silhouetting

  1. :  to represent by a silhouette; also :  to project on a background like a silhouette

silhouettist

play \-ˈwe-tist\ noun

SILHOUETTE Defined for Kids

1

silhouette

play
noun sil·hou·ette \ˌsi-lə-ˈwet\

Definition of silhouette for Students

  1. 1 :  1outline 1 <In the dim light, their faces were just silhouettes.>

  2. 2 :  a drawing, picture, or portrait of the outline of a person or object filled in with a solid usually black color



History for silhouette

A man named Étienne de Silhouette was once in charge of the finances of France. He was a miser who did not like to spend his money or the country's money. According to one story he was too cheap to buy paintings for the walls of his mansion, and so he made simple outline drawings to hang in place of paintings. In French and in English silhouette still means “an outline drawing.”


2

silhouette

play
verb sil·hou·ette

Definition of silhouette for Students

silhouetted

silhouetting

  1. :  to represent by an outline :  show against a light background <An airplane was silhouetted against the sky.>





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