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
He loved the sleek contours of the car.
The map showed the contour of the coastline.
Recent Examples on the Web
Cleaning the reservoir was more frustrating than with higher-price products due to a small reservoir opening, but its base was easy to wipe down due to minimal contours and crevices.—Jon Bitner, wsj.com, 21 Sep. 2023 The contours of the damage were also still taking shape on Saturday.—Constant Méheut, New York Times, 9 Sep. 2023 Its reputation and longevity in the menswear space are a direct result of its unwavering design; the perfect-size heel and sleek contours, punctuated by the lustrous horsebit, continues to dominate.—Robb Report Studio, Robb Report, 25 Aug. 2023 The contour of her lips, defined with blue lip liner, seamlessly merged into a gloss with a holographic hue.—India Espy-Jones, Essence, 21 Aug. 2023 But the way its creases and contours transform with age have — for some of us — changed.—Elizabeth Siegel, Allure, 21 Aug. 2023 Handout Delta, which runs more international routes out of Logan than any other airline, took advantage of Terminal E’s distinctive windows and contours in the design of its Sky Club.—Christopher Muther, BostonGlobe.com, 18 Aug. 2023 The second and seventh degrees are lowered a half step, meaning that the scale assumes the contour of the Phrygian mode, which medieval theorists considered mystical in character.—Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 4 Sep. 2023 The cooling cover absorbs and dissolves heat, while the 10-inch memory foam contours to your body and keeps you supported throughout the night.—Amy Stanford, Health, 1 Sep. 2023
The lightweight suitcase features a comfortable contour grip handle, extra durable zippers, and sturdy spinner wheels that glide effortlessly on and off of planes and through the airport.—Rachael Green, Travel + Leisure, 7 July 2023 Fenty Beauty’s contour stick and Anastasia Beverly Hills’s powder sculpt her visage (pro tip: blend nose contour with your fingers for a natural look), while a NARS color corrector and Dior concealer brighten her dark circles.—Kiana Murden, Vogue, 15 June 2023 What is contour? Contouring works by mimicking natural shadow, so a matte finish (as opposed to a shimmery one) in a contour product is a must.—Angela Trakoshis, Allure, 24 Feb. 2023 Some soles, such as those made of cork, contour to the shape of your foot.—Lindsay Modglin, Verywell Health, 13 Apr. 2023 Westman's special trick is to dab the contour stick on her eyelids for definition.—Megan Decker, refinery29.com, 9 Mar. 2023 The company says its AI may help speed up a process called contour delineation, in which clinicians use CT scans to outline healthy organs and tissue at risk so the radiation can be directed towards the tumor.—Mary Kekatos, ABC News, 15 Mar. 2023 Several of the body-positive lingerie label’s bestselling styles — including its Leakproof underwear and WingWoman contour bra — will be available in five different shades.—Truc Nguyen, refinery29.com, 20 May 2020
The leather is soft and flexible while the footbed is contoured for all day wearability.—Vanessa Powell, Peoplemag, 21 Sep. 2023 Contributing to the socks’ durability and overall comfort is recycled nylon and stretchy elastane, which also contour to your foot for the perfect fit.—Marissa Miller, Travel + Leisure, 19 Sep. 2023 Following this, Cream Bronzer was applied to contour the cheeks and nose.—Akili King, Essence, 11 Sep. 2023 Just look at the impenitent subject: the deep furrow between his eyebrows and the one that contours his cheek seem to want to connect and form a kind of scar in shadow.—Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 25 Aug. 2023 Avocado Green Organic Latex Mattress Topper $349 at Avocado
Comes in plush and firm options
Contours to the body's curves
There's slight off-gassing
This Avocado mattress topper is designed to contour to your body's curves using two inches of organic latex.—Jackie Lam, Women's Health, 21 Aug. 2023 The stretchy material comfortably contours to the shape of your body, and tons of shoppers have given the leggings a stamp of approval to wear during workouts like yoga and pilates.—Clara McMahon, Peoplemag, 10 Sep. 2023 The quick-dry fabric keeps you cool—a good thing since you’re bound to wear these babies everywhere, while the contouring construction helps to accentuate your assets (emphasis on ass).—Lindsay Geller, Women's Health, 7 Sep. 2023 The flexible, pivoting blades can contour to the head and neck for a close shave without worrying about any potential nicks.—Good Housekeeping, 31 Aug. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'contour.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
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