Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The outline of a figure, body, or mass.
  • n. A line that represents such an outline. See Synonyms at form, outline.
  • n. A surface, especially of a curving form. Often used in the plural.
  • n. A contour line.
  • n. Linguistics The distinctive rising and falling patterns of pitch, tone, or stress.
  • transitive v. To make or shape the outline of; represent in contour.
  • transitive v. To build (a road, for example) to follow the contour of the land.
  • adj. Following the contour lines of uneven terrain to limit erosion of topsoil: contour plowing.
  • adj. Shaped to fit the outline or form of something: a contour sheet.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An outline, boundary or border, usually of curved shape.
  • n. A line on a map or chart delineating those points which have the same altitude or other plotted quantity: a contour line or isopleth.
  • n. a speech sound which behaves as a single segment, but which makes an internal transition from one quality, place, or manner to another.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The outline of a figure or body, or the line or lines representing such an outline; the line that bounds; periphery.
  • n. The outline of a horizontal section of the ground, or of works of fortification.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make a contour or outline of; mark with contours or contour-lines: as, contoured maps.
  • To follow a level line on an irregular slope; imitate the path of a contour-line.
  • n. The outline of a figure or body; the line that defines or bounds anything; the periphery considered as distinct from the object: used chiefly in speaking of rounded or sinuous bodies.
  • n. Specifically— In the fine arts, a line or lines representing the outline of any figure.
  • n. In fortification, the horizontal outline of works of defense. When the conformation of the ground or works is described by contours or horizontal sections, these sections are taken at some fixed vertical interval from each other suited to the scale of the drawing or the subject in hand; and the distances of the surface, at each interval, above or below some assumed plane of comparison, are given in figures at the most convenient places on the plan.
  • n. In surveying, a curve of equal elevation on a map; a contourline.
  • n. In mathematics, a closed curve considered as inclosing an area.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a feature (or the order or arrangement of features) of anything having a complex structure
  • v. form the contours of
  • n. a line drawn on a map connecting points of equal height
  • n. any spatial attributes (especially as defined by outline)

Etymologies

French, alteration (influenced by tour, turn) of Italian contorno, from contornare, to draw in outline : Latin com-, intensive pref.; see com- + Latin tornāre, to round off (from tornus, lathe, from Greek tornos).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Italian contorno. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • WORDS ACCENTED ON THE LAST SYLLABLE: address _address'_ adept _adept'_ adult _adult'_ ally _ally'_ commandant _commandänt '(ä as in arm) _ contour _contour'_ dessert _dessert'_ dilate _dilate'_ excise _eksiz'_ finance _finance'_ grimace _grimace'_ importune _importune'_ occult _occult'_ pretence _pretence'_ research _research'_ robust _robust'_ romance _romance'_ tirade _tirade'_

    Practical Grammar and Composition

  • The Remington Model 700 with the heavier "Varmint" contour is certainly an excellent choice, and there are others makes and models as well.

    new to rifles

  • Maps: Some models have built-in contour lake maps, but most need plug-in map cards or downloadable maps, sold separately.

    What to Look for in a Bass Fishing GPS

  • Full and lovely in contour rose of yore the small breasts of me.

    Psalms of the Sisters

  • Contours (lines joining points of identical elevation are called contour lines); ii.

    12. Site Selection, Planning and Shelter

  • (Figure 9.15) .38 A contour is a line along the ground which is at a constant elevation.

    5. How plants live and grow

  • - If the original design has been made as a drawing on paper, the size can be calculated very accurately, and a cardboard profile made of the contour, which is then used to check the model.

    6. Mouldmaking and Plaster of Paris

  • She says that our head has a very homely and bourgeois bullet shape, a sort of pithecanthropoid contour, which is revealed by a close trim.

    Mince Pie

  • His face, of a highbred and strongly marked type, emphasised by age, had the hawk-like contour, that is supposed to betoken extreme acquisitiveness.

    The Colonel's Dream

  • This being once admitted, it is easy to see that the indefinite stability of the rings would have required a regularity of structure throughout their whole contour, which is very improbable.

    Biographies of Distinguished Scientific Men

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