from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The outline of a figure, body, or mass. synonym: form.
  • noun A line that represents such an outline. synonym: outline.
  • noun A contour line.
  • noun A varying characteristic or quality of something, such as a melody.
  • noun Linguistics The distinctive rising and falling patterns of pitch, tone, or stress.
  • transitive verb To make or shape the outline of; represent in contour.
  • transitive verb To build (a road, for example) to follow the contour of the land.
  • adjective Following the contour lines of uneven terrain to limit erosion of topsoil.
  • adjective Shaped to fit the outline or form of something.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To follow a level line on an irregular slope; imitate the path of a contour-line.
  • To make a contour or outline of; mark with contours or contour-lines: as, contoured maps.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Specifically— In the fine arts, a line or lines representing the outline of any figure.
  • noun 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.
  • noun In surveying, a curve of equal elevation on a map; a contourline.
  • noun In mathematics, a closed curve considered as inclosing an area.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The outline of a figure or body, or the line or lines representing such an outline; the line that bounds; periphery.
  • noun (Mil.) The outline of a horizontal section of the ground, or of works of fortification.
  • noun (Zoöl.) those feathers that form the general covering of a bird.
  • noun (Surv.) the outline of the surface of ground with respect to its undulation, etc.
  • noun (Topographical Suv.) the line in which a horizontal plane intersects a portion of ground, or the corresponding line in a map or chart.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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


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

[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; see terə- in Indo-European roots).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Italian contorno.


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  • 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 Thomas Wood

  • 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 2009

  • 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 2009

  • 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 2006

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

    Psalms of the Sisters Caroline Augusta Foley Rhys 1909

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

    12. Site Selection, Planning and Shelter 1999

  • - 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 1991

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

    5. How plants live and grow 1991

  • 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 Christopher Morley 1923

  • 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 1895


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