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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for contour

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 Fat repositioning surgery is used to shift the fat under a patient's eyes that generally creates dark circles into the contour of the under eye to give the area a fuller appearance. Katie Campione, PEOPLE.com, 31 May 2021 This is meant for youths and the cup is designed specifically to match the size and contour of youth bodies. Chris Hachey, BGR, 25 May 2021 The pictures are like headstones in a national cemetery, markers tracing the contour of the land. Thomas Curwen, Los Angeles Times, 3 May 2021 At a magnification of ten times, the yellow glow took on the contour of a corporeal object. Gideon Lewis-kraus, The New Yorker, 30 Apr. 2021 Also consider a chair that's designed to support your head, legs, and the contour of your neck and lower back to prevent aches and strains. Sanah Faroke, Better Homes & Gardens, 30 Apr. 2021 One at a time, stand each on a cut end and, slicing from top to bottom, cut away the peel and pith following the contour of the fruit. BostonGlobe.com, 4 May 2021 Gulley made sure to follow the contour of the mountain to create it’s unique shape and to save money from digging into the ground. Shanti Lerner, The Arizona Republic, 23 Apr. 2021 Over the years, beauty trends have ranged from faux freckles to the Kardashian contour. Samantha Olson, Seventeen, 21 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb At the start of the 20th century in France, for instance, doctors sometimes attempted to re-contour patients' faces using paraffin wax. CNN, 30 May 2021 These will contour to your legs perfectly and fit snugly and comfortably. Chris Hachey, BGR, 5 May 2021 These will contour to your legs perfectly and fit snugly and comfortably. Chris Hachey, BGR, 5 May 2021 Using your fingertips or a tool, such as Pause’s Fascia Stimulating Tool, knead and contour the facial muscles, moving along the jawline and upward toward the highs of the cheekbones, under-eye region, and across the forehead. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, 3 May 2021 Avocado Green’s latex layers contour lightly around your body, making this bed a great choice for those who need a little extra pressure point relief but aren’t keen on the cushy feel of memory foam. Jillian Mueller, Health.com, 5 May 2021 These will contour to your legs perfectly and fit snugly and comfortably. Chris Hachey, BGR, 5 May 2021 Each foam layer has a different density, strategically chosen to contour your body and give you some serious pressure relief. Lindsay Boyers, Forbes, 5 May 2021 These beds are supportive, breathable, and responsive to movement, but the coils don't contour to the body and innersprings aren't known for providing excellent pressure relief. Jillian Mueller, Health.com, 23 Apr. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about contour

Time Traveler for contour

Time Traveler

The first known use of contour was in 1662

See more words from the same year

Statistics for contour

Last Updated

6 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Contour.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/contour. Accessed 12 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!