outline

noun
out·line | \ˈau̇t-ˌlīn \

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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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 their outline of the administration’s new reunification plan, HHS provided the number for the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s National Call Center (1-800-203-7001). Madeleine Aggeler, The Cut, "How Will Over 2,000 Detained Children Be Reunited With Their Parents?," 25 June 2018 With the proper permits from state and federal officials, the archaeologists were also allowed to dig around on the ship, probing the mud to find its outline even where buried. Ben Raines, AL.com, "Wreck found in Delta not the Clotilda, the last American slave ship," 5 Mar. 2018 By now, of course, anyone following the horrific story even casually is familiar with its basic outline. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Notebook: The Harvey Weinstein 'Frontline' Doc Is a Sickening Horror Show," 2 Mar. 2018 According to the basic outline agreed so far, Boeing would pay $3.8 billion to control 80 percent of the Brazilian plane-maker's commercial airplane and services businesses. Julie Johnsson And Fabiola Moura, chicagotribune.com, "Boeing's $4.75 billion Embraer deal leaves long to-do list," 6 July 2018 Details of the plan that Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, and Jason Greenblatt, the special envoy for the Mideast, are shopping around have not been publicly disclosed except for broad outlines. Tracy Wilkinson, latimes.com, "White House team visits Mideast to advance its still-secret Israeli-Palestinian peace plan," 23 June 2018 The entertainer's narration draws a basic outline of a district attorney's job description with calls for reform peppered throughout. Eder Campuzano, OregonLive.com, "John Legend wades into Oregon politics and a high-profile DA race," 12 May 2018 The engineer reportedly said officials with the Australian Transport and Safety Bureau (ATSB) told him the images — which appear to show a basic outline of a plane — could show the aircraft, which vanished on March 8, 2014. Nicole Darrah, Fox News, "Australian officials deny claims MH370 can be seen from the air, was riddled with bullet holes," 18 Mar. 2018 The form gives a basic outline of what could be on the Ovation site in five years. Scott Wartman, Cincinnati.com, "What's going on at Newport site suggested for FC Cincinnati stadium?," 15 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

At the board's May 13 meeting, there was a discussion outlining how the decoration of caps should be governed. Steve Smith, Courant Community, "Board Denies Decorated Mortarboards," 19 June 2018 This is the last in a three-part series outlining what’s gone right, what’s gone wrong and what’s still to come in a 2018 season that’s lining up for a thrilling finish. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "IndyCar midseason review, part III: What's still to come," 17 June 2018 The complaint outlines what police say happened next: Detectives and officers used an undercover car and went to an apartment in the 9500 block of W. Fond du Lac. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Driver charged in chase that killed Milwaukee Officer Charles Irvine Jr. had child in car," 12 June 2018 On Monday, Kyle's father, Ron Plush, who has attended every hearing, gave a presentation outlining what needed to be done with a timeline of progress. Sharon Coolidge, Cincinnati.com, "FOP president Hils to Council: Stop politicizing Kyle Plush's death," 11 June 2018 Advertisement Manatee County Sheriff's Office outlines how to survive an active shooter situation in this video. Josh Magness, miamiherald, "He warned Disney World vacationers of a shooter — but it was a joke for YouTube, cops say," 30 May 2018 Those comments seem to echo recent reports from South Korean media that the US and North Korea have made some progress on outlining what a potential nuclear deal might look like. Alex Ward, Vox, "Pompeo: US and North Korea “in complete agreement” on goals of Trump-Kim summit," 11 May 2018 One of Diane Siskey's lawyers, Matt McGuire, responded with a letter Tuesday on behalf of himself, Grier and Williamson outlining the plan for the $15 million distribution. Rick Rothacker, charlotteobserver, "Siskey Ponzi victims have waited months to get their money. Help may be on the way. | Charlotte Observer," 10 May 2018 Morris will outline how the Clinic is embracing new innovations in health information and technology. Julie Washington, cleveland.com, "Dev4Health conference examines how data sharing improves health care for patients, doctors (photos)," 1 May 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

25 Sep 2018

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 \

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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Comments on outline

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