- to compare in order to show unlikeness or differences; note the opposite natures, purposes, etc., of: Contrast the political rights of Romans and Greeks.
- to exhibit unlikeness on comparison with something else; form a contrast.
- Linguistics. to differ in a way that can serve to distinguish meanings: The sounds (p) and (b) contrast in the words “pin” and “bin.”
- the act of contrasting; the state of being contrasted.
- a striking exhibition of unlikeness.
- a person or thing that is strikingly unlike in comparison: The weather down here is a welcome contrast to what we're having back home.
- opposition or juxtaposition of different forms, lines, or colors in a work of art to intensify each element's properties and produce a more dynamic expressiveness.
- Photography. the relative difference between light and dark areas of a print or negative.
- Television. the brightness ratio of the lightest to the darkest part of the television screen image.
- Linguistics. a difference between linguistic elements, especially sounds, that can serve to distinguish meanings.
Origin of contrast
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for contrast
In contrast, Boehner's leadership team filed into his ceremonial office and greeted the teary newly-elected Speaker with hugs.Democrats Accidentally Save Boehner From Republican Coup
Ben Jacobs, Jackie Kucinich
January 6, 2015
By contrast, John McCain, the eventual GOP nominee, had raised approximately $12.7 million in the first quarter of 2007 alone.
In contrast to Paul, Huckabee has never palled around with Al Sharpton.
By contrast, a gun will allow a pilot to attack hostile forces that are less than 300 feet from friendly ground forces.New U.S. Stealth Jet Can’t Fire Its Gun Until 2019
December 31, 2014
By contrast, Solomon can tell us a great deal about what really changed the country—because at key moments, he was there.The Real Story Behind the Fight for Marriage Equality
December 30, 2014
If mine is sad, I shall but look the gayer for the contrast.The Prophetic Pictures (From "Twice Told Tales")
(b) In what ways should soup accompaniments be a contrast to the soup?Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 3
Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences
Imagine what a contrast it would be to anything that she has ever seen!Ester Ried Yet Speaking
What a contrast did the little village of Nant present to Le Vigan!The Roof of France
And the early bedtime and the early morning and the long, long day—what a contrast to this!The Bacillus of Beauty
- (often foll by with) to distinguish or be distinguished by comparison of unlike or opposite qualities
- distinction or emphasis of difference by comparison of opposite or dissimilar things, qualities, etc (esp in the phrases by contrast, in contrast to or with)
- a person or thing showing notable differences when compared with another
- (in painting) the effect of the juxtaposition of different colours, tones, etc
- (of a photographic emulsion) the degree of density measured against exposure used
- the extent to which adjacent areas of an optical image, esp on a television screen or in a photographic negative or print, differ in brightness
- psychol the phenomenon that when two different but related stimuli are presented close together in space and/or time they are perceived as being more different than they really are
Word Origin and History for contrast
1690s, from French contraster (Old French contrester), modified by or from Italian contrastare "stand out against, strive, contend," from Vulgar Latin *contrastare "to withstand," from Latin contra "against" (see contra) + stare "to stand," from PIE root *sta- "to stand" (see stet).
Middle English had contrest "to fight against, to withstand," which became extinct. Modern word re-introduced as an art term. Related: Contrasted; contrasting; contrastive.
1711, from contrast (v.).