silhouette 1 of 2

as in outline
a line that traces the outer limits of an object or surface cartoonists often try to give their characters recognizable silhouettes

Synonyms & Similar Words



2 of 2


as in to trace
to draw or make apparent the outline of in the photograph the majestic mountain is strikingly silhouetted against the setting sun

Synonyms & Similar Words

Synonym Chooser

How does the noun silhouette differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of silhouette are contour, outline, and profile. While all these words mean "the line that bounds and gives form to something," 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

Where would contour be a reasonable alternative to silhouette?

While in some cases nearly identical to silhouette, contour stresses the quality of an outline or a bounding surface as being smooth, jagged, curving, or sharply angled.

a car with flowing contours

When could outline be used to replace silhouette?

In some situations, the words outline and silhouette are roughly equivalent. However, outline applies to a line marking the outer limits or edges of a body or mass.

traced the outline of his hand

When is it sensible to use profile instead of silhouette?

The meanings of profile and silhouette largely overlap; however, profile suggests a varied and sharply defined outline against a lighter background.

a portrait of her face in profile


Thesaurus Entries Near silhouette

Cite this Entry

“Silhouette.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2024.

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