contrast

verb
con·​trast | \kən-ˈtrast, ˈkän-ˌtrast \
contrasted; contrasting; contrasts

Definition of contrast 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to set off in contrast : compare or appraise in respect to differences Contrast European and American manners. Contrast the two major characters of the novel. often used with to or with contrasting the painter with her contemporaries

intransitive verb

: to form a contrast

contrast

noun
con·​trast | \ˈkän-ˌtrast \

Definition of contrast (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : juxtaposition of dissimilar elements (such as color, tone, or emotion) in a work of art

b : degree of difference between the lightest and darkest parts of a picture

2a : the difference or degree of difference between things having similar or comparable natures the contrast between the two forms of government

b : comparison of similar objects to set off their dissimilar qualities By contrast with newer models, the computer operates slowly. : the state of being so compared In contrast to the other estimates, his was very high.

3 : a person or thing that exhibits differences when compared with another The gentle girl is a contrast to the arrogant woman.

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Other Words from contrast

Verb

contrastable \ kən-​ˈtra-​stə-​bəl , ˈkän-​ˌtra-​ \ adjective
contrastingly \ kən-​ˈtra-​stiŋ-​lē , ˈkän-​ˌtra-​ \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for contrast

Verb

compare, contrast, collate mean to set side by side in order to show differences and likenesses. compare implies an aim of showing relative values or excellences by bringing out characteristic qualities whether similar or divergent. compared the convention facilities of the two cities contrast implies an emphasis on differences. contrasted the computerized system with the old filing cards collate implies minute and critical inspection in order to note points of agreement or divergence. data from districts around the country will be collated

Examples of contrast in a Sentence

Verb

Her black dress and the white background contrast sharply. We compared and contrasted the two characters of the story.

Noun

I observed an interesting contrast in the teaching styles of the two women. Careful contrast of the twins shows some differences. In contrast to last year's profits, the company is not doing very well. The queen's wit and humor made the prince seem dull by contrast. They spent millions of dollars on advertising. By way of contrast, our small company spent under 5,000 dollars.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This approval contrasts with recent developments in the United States, where net neutrality rules were repealed last month. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "India just approved net neutrality rules that ban ‘any form’ of data discrimination," 11 July 2018 The memorable characters attempt to address the existence of giants in different ways and in contrasting environments. Danny Atkinson, Courant Community, "Epoch Arts Opens Summer Season," 2 July 2018 Harron and Polley also built tension by contrasting the hypnotism against flashbacks and reveries that were filmed and lit in a completely different way. Sonia Saraiya, HWD, "A Look Beneath the Veil of Alias Grace’s Showstopping Hypnotism," 25 June 2018 Indie rock often showcases a set of curiously contrasting textures. John Adamian, courant.com, "Kal Marks To Play MAC650," 19 May 2018 The dish, with the caviar served on plain white toast and paired with chopped egg with a dollop of sour cream on the side, is a perfect study in contrasting textures and flavors: salty, creamy and crispy. Charles Passy, WSJ, "The Oyster Bar’s Caviar Sandwich Is Back," 29 Apr. 2018 Come prepared with two contrasting monologue, no longer than three minutes in total length or a monologue and 16 bars of a song to be sung a capella. Mark Rapp, cleveland.com, "Cleveland theater's auditions for April 27 and Beyond: Ohio Shakespere Festival's 2018-19 Season & More," 27 Apr. 2018 Spider-Man’s fight scenes and aerial acrobatics had a spry kineticism that contrasted with the brawny physicality of Kirby’s compositions. Andy Webster, New York Times, "Steve Ditko, Influential Comic-Book Artist Who Helped Create Spider-Man, Dies at 90," 7 July 2018 Like the city’s street grid, this version of freedom has a social dimension that contrasts with the objectlike identity of skyscrapers and Prairie School houses. Blair Kamin, chicagotribune.com, "For July 4th, four architectural freedoms," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This beige-colored house stands in stark contrast to some of the tent cities and cages where Central American children are kept in Texas. Jean Guerrero, Glamour, "We've Seen Pictures of Undocumented Boys in Government Facilities. Where Are the Girls?," 13 July 2018 That was in stark contrast to Trump’s subsequent meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. Washington Post, "No shove, but Trump body language speaks to frosty relations," 11 July 2018 Clinton, in stark contrast, sent surrogates instead of showing up herself. Jennifer Szalai, New York Times, "How Conservatives Bet Big on Wisconsin and Won," 11 July 2018 That was in stark contrast to Trump's subsequent meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. Jonathan Lemire And Darlene Superville, chicagotribune.com, "No shove, but Trump body language speaks to frosty relations," 11 July 2018 In stark contrast, women outnumbered men in the executive ranks of two Silicon Valley companies, and at another firm, nearly a third of executives were women of color. Richard Prince, The Root, "Obama Was More Aware of Racism Than We Saw," 27 June 2018 This stands in stark contrast to the Harley-Davidsons and Moto-Guzzis of the world, which can feel outdated in terms of actual operation, gauges, screens, and mechanical systems but have components with delightful heft and grittiness. Fortune, "Is the Bigger, Beefier Ducati Scrambler 1100 the One for You?," 27 June 2018 In stark contrast to the Democratic swing votes, Collins and Murkowski are insulated from near-term electoral considerations — and likely, even from long-term ones. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "The Fate of Abortion Rights in America May Now Lie With These Senators," 27 June 2018 That law is in stark contrast to others around the country, such as Seattle, which banned plastic bags in 2008, or California, which became the first state to ban the bags the same year as Indiana's ban on a ban. Sarah Bowman, Indianapolis Star, "Aardvark paper straws: This Fort Wayne company has your plastic straw alternative," 24 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contrast.' 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 contrast

Verb

1646, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Noun

1711, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for contrast

Verb

French contraster, from Middle French, to oppose, resist, alteration of contrester, from Vulgar Latin *contrastare, from Latin contra- + stare to stand — more at stand

Noun

see contrast entry 1

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Statistics for contrast

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for contrast

The first known use of contrast was in 1646

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More Definitions for contrast

contrast

verb

English Language Learners Definition of contrast

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to be different especially in a way that is very obvious

: to compare (two people or things) to show how they are different

contrast

noun

English Language Learners Definition of contrast (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is different from another thing

: a difference between people or things that are being compared

: the act of comparing people or things to show the differences between them

contrast

verb
con·​trast | \kən-ˈtrast \
contrasted; contrasting

Kids Definition of contrast

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to show noticeable differences Red contrasts with black.

2 : to compare two persons or things so as to show the differences between them Contrast the styles of these two authors.

contrast

noun
con·​trast | \ˈkän-ˌtrast \

Kids Definition of contrast (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something that is different from another Today's weather is quite a contrast to yesterday's.

2 : difference or the amount of difference (as in color or brightness) between parts a photo with good contrast

3 : difference or amount of difference between related or similar things the contrast between summer and winter

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Comments on contrast

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