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

  • intransitive verb To set in opposition in order to show or emphasize differences.
  • intransitive verb To show differences when compared.
  • intransitive verb Linguistics To evince a difference that can distinguish meaning.
  • noun The act of contrasting; a setting off of dissimilar entities or objects.
  • noun The state of being contrasted.
  • noun A difference, especially a strong dissimilarity, between entities or objects compared.
  • noun One thing that is strikingly dissimilar to another.
  • noun The use of opposing elements, such as colors, forms, or lines, in proximity to produce an intensified effect in a work of art.
  • noun The difference in brightness between the light and dark areas of a picture, such as a photograph or video image.
  • noun Linguistics A difference between units, especially one that distinguishes meaning.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To set in opposition, as two or more objects of a like kind, with a view to show their differences; compare by observing differences of character or qualities: used absolutely or followed by with: as, to contrast two pictures or statues; to contrast the style of Dickens with that of Thackeray.
  • In the fine arts, to exhibit the differences or dissimilitude of; heighten the effect of, or show to advantage, by opposition of position, attitude, form, or color.
  • To stand in contrast or opposition; exhibit diversity on comparison.
  • noun Opposition; dispute.
  • noun Opposition in respect of certain qualities; antagonistic difference; direct opposition: as, the contrasts and resemblances of the seasons.
  • noun Comparison by exhibiting the dissimilitude or the contrariety of qualities in the things compared; the placing of opposites together in order to make the antagonism of their qualities more apparent.
  • noun In the fine arts, opposition of varied forms or colors, which by juxtaposition magnify the effect of one another's peculiarities.
  • noun In psychological optics, the reciprocal induction of colors and brightnesses in the present field of regard.
  • noun In psychology, generally, any supposed intensification or throwing into relief by juxtaposition with an opposite.

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

  • intransitive verb To stand in opposition; to exhibit difference, unlikeness, or opposition of qualities.
  • transitive verb To set in opposition, or over against, in order to show the differences between, or the comparative excellences and defects of; to compare by difference or contrariety of qualities.
  • transitive verb (Fine Arts) To give greater effect to, as to a figure or other object, by putting it in some relation of opposition to another figure or object.
  • noun The act of contrasting, or the state of being contrasted; comparison by contrariety of qualities.
  • noun Opposition or dissimilitude of things or qualities; unlikeness, esp. as shown by juxtaposition or comparison.
  • noun (Fine Arts) The opposition of varied forms, colors, etc., which by such juxtaposition more vividly express each other's peculiarities.

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

  • noun countable A difference in lightness, brightness and/or hue between two colours that makes them more or less distinguishable.
  • noun uncountable The degree of this difference.
  • noun countable A difference between two objects, people or concepts.
  • noun countable A control on a television, etc, that adjusts the amount of contrast in the images being displayed.
  • noun countable, uncountable, rhetoric Antithesis.
  • verb transitive To set in opposition in order to show the difference or differences between.
  • verb intransitive To form a contrast.

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

  • noun the range of optical density and tone on a photographic negative or print (or the extent to which adjacent areas on a television screen differ in brightness)
  • verb put in opposition to show or emphasize differences
  • noun the opposition or dissimilarity of things that are compared
  • noun the act of distinguishing by comparing differences
  • verb to show differences when compared; be different
  • noun the perceptual effect of the juxtaposition of very different colors
  • noun a conceptual separation or distinction


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

[French contraster, from Italian contrastare, from Medieval Latin contrāstāre : Latin contrā-, contra- + Latin stāre, to stand; see stā- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French contraster, from Italian contrastare ("to resist", "to withstand"), from Vulgar Latin, from Latin contra ("against") + stare ("to stand")


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