outline

noun
out·​line | \ ˈau̇t-ˌlīn How to pronounce outline (audio) \

Definition of outline

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a line that marks the outer limits of an object or figure : boundary the jagged outline of the mountains
b : shape the sharpening outline of her face— Willa Cather
2a : a style of drawing in which contours are marked without shading drew a dog in outline
b : a sketch in outline prepared several outlines of the suggested mural
3a : a condensed treatment of a particular subject an outline of world history
b : a summary of a written work : synopsis Students were required to give an outline for each assigned paper.
4 : a preliminary account of a project : plan gave the class an outline of the points he intended to cover
5 : a fishing line set out overnight

outline

verb
outlined; outlining; outlines

Definition of outline (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to draw the outline of
2 : to indicate the principal features or different parts of outlined their responsibilities

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Synonyms for outline

Synonyms: Noun

contour, figure, silhouette

Synonyms: Verb

define, delineate, silhouette, sketch, trace

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Choose the Right Synonym for outline

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 outline in a Sentence

Noun

The pictures were drawn in outline and then filled in with color. The leaves etched into the vase have a gold outline. Organize your essay by writing an outline in which you state your main idea followed by your supporting points. a brief outline of American history Her speech was written in outline on note cards.

Verb

The President outlined his agenda for the next term. The book outlines the major events of the country's history. All players must follow the rules outlined above.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In the talks this week, Chinese and U.S. negotiators are focusing on producing a broad outline of a trade agreement for their presidents to clinch at a possible summit, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Bob Davis, WSJ, "China, U.S. Seek Broad Outline of a Trade Pact This Week," 12 Feb. 2019 That outline of Apple’s current notch shape has already become a brand identifier for Apple. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "2018 was a weird notch year — what’s next?," 18 Dec. 2018 That outline hasn't been translated into legislation and may not be until after midterm elections later this year. Lawrence Specker, AL.com, "Shelby: 'Crucial' time ahead for funding ship channel," 1 May 2018 Materials will be provided that outline the supplies needed to support the needs of a family for up to 72 hours. Linda Mcintosh, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Kiwanian of the week named," 23 Mar. 2018 When that outline was put to an SPD conference in Bonn on Jan. 21, with the leadership recommending it as a basis for formal coalition talks, delegates approved it by just 56 percent -- a narrow margin that could spell trouble. Patrick Donahue, Bloomberg.com, "The Hurdles That Remain to Merkel’s Fourth Term," 26 Jan. 2018 While the broad outlines of the story had been known for years, new information from a whistleblower launched the story onto the front pages of newspapers around the world. Casey Newton, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: Facebook," 26 Dec. 2018 Those particles stick to the edge of the ring, forming a dark outline around the stain. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Study: modern masters like Jackson Pollock were “intuitive physicists”," 26 Dec. 2018 And the story that Bird has devised for them, while considerably more elaborate, resembles the first in general outline. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "How the dazzling, overstuffed ‘Incredibles 2’ holds up a cracked mirror to present-day reality," 4 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Coachella's new initiative also outlines ways festival goers can help keep each other safe, like always asking for consent and reporting misconduct at a kiosk available on festival grounds. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "Coachella Announced Sexual Harassment Prevention Efforts," 4 Jan. 2019 Helpfully, the report also outlines some of the biggest cities in the U.S., the worst day to travel in or through those cities, and the worst time to be driving in those cities. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "This Is the Worst Day to Travel Before Christmas," 13 Dec. 2018 On the latest episode of Recode Media, Hubbard outlines how his new startup Rival aims to help teams, performers and event venues lose less money to scalpers — and know more about their customers. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Square CFO Sarah Friar moves down the block — as Nextdoor CEO," 11 Oct. 2018 The statement outlines a series of initiatives the organization plans to lead in the coming years. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "AIA outlines its approach to shaping safe school design," 16 Aug. 2018 Her recent visit to the Royal Opera House to see the costume department was used to outline a separate interest in textile manufacturing, which she is set to explore in the coming months. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton's Experiences as a Mother Have Profoundly Shaped Her Focus for 2019," 23 Jan. 2019 Created in 1948 by the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights outlines international human rights applicable to every country and person, including access to health resources, education, employment, food, and leisure. Eva Lewis, Teen Vogue, "I Traveled to Paris to Advocate for Human Rights in Chicago's South Side," 27 Nov. 2018 May hoped to use the talks to explain her plan for Brexit and to outline the complexities involved. Fortune, "Trump Apologizes to May and Vows U.K. Trade Deal After Brexit," 13 July 2018 But the group has yet to outline any major changes to its business, and the shares are still suspended. Alexandra Stevenson, New York Times, "Wang Jian, Co-Founder of Chinese Giant HNA, Dies in France," 4 July 2018

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

Noun

1662, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

circa 1790, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for outline

Last Updated

13 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for outline

The first known use of outline was in 1662

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More Definitions for outline

outline

noun

English Language Learners Definition of outline

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a drawing or picture that shows only the shape of an object
: a style of drawing in which only the outer edges of an object are shown
: a line that is drawn around the edges of something

outline

verb

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

: to draw a line around the edges of (something)
: to list or describe only the most important parts of (an essay, speech, plan, etc.) : to give an outline of (something)

outline

noun
out·​line | \ ˈau̇t-ˌlīn How to pronounce outline (audio) \

Kids Definition of outline

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a line that traces or forms the outer limits of an object or figure and shows its shape
2 : a drawing or picture or style of drawing in which only the outer edges of an object or figure are shown outlines of animals
3 : an often numbered or lettered list of the important parts of something (as an essay)
4 : a short treatment of a subject an outline of world history

outline

verb
outlined; outlining

Kids Definition of outline (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to draw or trace the outer edges of Outline the circle in gold.
2 : to list or describe the main features or parts of … Mother went on outlining her plans for the storeroom.— Robert Lawson, Rabbit Hill

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More from Merriam-Webster on outline

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with outline

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for outline

Spanish Central: Translation of outline

Nglish: Translation of outline for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of outline for Arabic Speakers

Comments on outline

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