- 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 contrasting
A scarf and bag in contrasting shades and patterns enhanced this busy, but feminine, look.Art Takes the Runway at Burberry Prorsum Fall/Winter 2014 London Fashion Week
February 17, 2014
At best, contrasting the campaign to the government was akin to “comparing apples and oranges.”Obama’s 2012 Campaign Prepped for Disaster. Obamacare Didn’t.
October 23, 2013
The show centers on two detectives with contrasting world views who must clean up the streets of Battle Creek, Mich.What’s Next For The ‘Breaking Bad' Cast: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, and More
September 30, 2013
Such an interesting social commentary— contrasting the hippie Jagger and the buttoned-up gangster.Tom Hiddleston On His Rocker-Vampire in ‘Only Lovers Left Alive,’ ‘Thor 2,’ and ‘Avengers 2’
September 7, 2013
Those sharp political differences lead to contrasting parenting styles.If You Grow Up Indian-American, College Graduation Isn’t Enough
May 31, 2013
By contrasting him now with Crispin she had grown to despise him.The Tavern Knight
Nice, I think, this contrasting of spiritual and natural productiveness.Cyropaedia
There are men who have a rugged pride in contrasting what they were with what they are.The Martins Of Cro' Martin, Vol. I (of II)
Charles James Lever
We were discussing the advantages of contrasting our home with other countries——'Jack Hinton
Charles James Lever
Quiet: subdued: not conspicuous or contrasting in color or maculation.Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology
John. B. Smith
- (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 contrasting
1715, present participle adjective from contrast (v.). From 1680s as a verbal noun.
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.).