contour

noun
con·​tour | \ ˈkän-ˌtu̇r How to pronounce contour (audio) \

Definition of contour

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : an outline especially of a curving or irregular figure : shape the sleek contours of the car The map shows the contour of the coastline. also : the line representing this outline
2 : the general form or structure of something : characteristic often used in plural the contours of a melody… the contours of political and social theories.— James G. Paradis
3 : a usually meaningful change in intonation in speech

contour

adjective

Definition of contour (Entry 2 of 3)

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

contour

verb
contoured; contouring; contours

Definition of contour (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to shape the contour of
b : to shape so as to fit contours
2 : to construct (something, such as a road) in conformity to a contour

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Synonyms for contour

Synonyms: Noun

figure, outline, silhouette

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Choose the Right Synonym for contour

Noun

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

Examples of contour in a Sentence

Noun

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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The sky is pretty much the limit (people have even used iPhones to blend their contour, after all). De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Camila Mendes Blends Makeup With a Pancake in Cole Sprouse's Instagram Story," 17 Nov. 2018 Moot was that article about how to perform a self-exam when the lump in my right breast grew so big that my husband could see its contours through my flesh. Amanda Schupak, SELF, "The Exquisite, Painful Irony of Being a Health Editor With Breast Cancer During Breast Cancer Awareness Month," 19 Oct. 2018 This time, the agreement would compel new city spending to make repairs that have long been neglected in part because of lack of federal funding, according to two people familiar with its contours. New York Times, "After Years of Disinvestment, City Public Housing Is Poised to Get U.S. Oversight," 1 June 2018 Nearby, where a massive project was underway to beautify and restore the Mission Reach to its natural contours, the rampaging water had other ideas. Scott Huddleston, San Antonio Express-News, "The 2013 deluge went down in the record books," 19 May 2018 This view highlights Ultima Thule’s contours, including a prominent crater on the smaller of the two lobes. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Releases New, High-Quality Image of Ultima Thule," 28 Jan. 2019 Tides are turning, however: Recently women like Lana Condor and Sandra Oh — women with faces like mine — have proudly walked the red carpet and posed for pictures (on magazine covers, no less!) without faces full of contour. Sandra Song, Teen Vogue, "How I Stopped Believing the Contouring Myths That Are Constantly Directed at Asian Women," 30 Nov. 2018 Their characters connect in a way that makes sense for two people who’ve seen most of life and know the precise nature and contours of its hard knocks, yet retain just enough idealism to fall in love. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Robert Redford bids farewell to the silver screen in the pitch-perfect The Old Man & the Gun," 28 Sep. 2018 The shapes and contours of our characters were now deeply carved, and were no longer pliable. Anne Slowey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Fear and Self-Loathing in the American Southwest," 25 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

CoolSculpting is a non-invasive body contouring treatment. Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, "Everything You Need to Know About CoolSculpting (and Were Too Afraid to Ask)," 11 Jan. 2019 Take a sheer layer of white paint and use it to contour your face, focusing on your nose and upper lip. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "We're Obsessed With This Easy Cat Makeup Tutorial for Halloween," 5 Sep. 2018 By directing radio-frequency heat one to three centimeters under the skin, this device claims to tighten and contour the arms, legs, abdomen, jaw line, and regions around the eyes. Allure, "The Skin-Care Glossary: A Comprehensive Guide to Everything You Need to Know," 17 Aug. 2018 The brand has since expanded beyond eyebrow-shaping products into contouring kits, liquid lipsticks and other makeup. Jaewon Kang, WSJ, "Celebrities Like Kylie Jenner Are Upending the $52 Billion Beauty Industry," 28 Nov. 2018 This kind of highlighting pairs nicely with contouring to further bring the light toward the center of your face. Brooke Shunatona, Cosmopolitan, "How to Apply Highlighter Based on the Glow You Want," 20 Feb. 2018 There is nothing surprising about Kim Kardashian West launching a line of contouring makeup sticks. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kim Kardashian On How KKW Beauty Will Be Different From Kylie Cosmetics," 20 June 2017 Mimic the hands of Hollywood’s most in-demand facialists with these sculpting tools that contour cheekbones, massage and lift heavy eyebrows, and de-puff the eye area. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "9 High-Tech Facial Tools to Up Your Beauty Game This Season," 15 Sep. 2018 However, in her Match Stick Matte Skinstick range, there is half the amount of shades, with 20 colors that can be used for contouring and/or concealing. Jillian Ruffo, PEOPLE.com, "How Kim Kardashian's Concealer Shade Range Compares to Kylie Jenner's and More Makeup Brands," 26 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contour.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of contour

Noun

1662, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1844, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1871, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for contour

Noun

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 entry 1

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Statistics for contour

Last Updated

12 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for contour

The first known use of contour was in 1662

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More Definitions for contour

contour

noun

English Language Learners Definition of contour

: the outline or outer edge of something

contour

noun
con·​tour | \ ˈkän-ˌtu̇r How to pronounce contour (audio) \

Kids Definition of contour

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

contour

noun
con·​tour | \ ˈkän-ˌtu̇(ə)r How to pronounce contour (audio) \

Medical Definition of contour

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an outline especially of a curving or irregular figure also : the line representing this outline

contour

transitive verb

Medical Definition of contour (Entry 2 of 2)

: to shape the contour of contour a gingiva in gingivoplasty

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More from Merriam-Webster on contour

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with contour

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for contour

Spanish Central: Translation of contour

Nglish: Translation of contour for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of contour for Arabic Speakers

Comments on contour

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the range of authority or knowledge

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