View synonyms for contour


[ kon-toor ]


  1. the outline of a figure or body; the edge or line that defines or bounds a shape or object.

    Synonyms: boundary, form, configuration

  2. Phonetics. a distinctive pattern of changes in pitch, stress, or tone extending across all or part of an utterance, especially across a sentence, and contributing to meaning.

verb (used with object)

  1. to mark with contour lines.
  2. to make or form the contour or outline of.
  3. to build (a road, railroad track, etc.) in conformity with the contour of the land.
  4. to mold or shape so as to fit a certain configuration:

    cars with seats that are contoured for comfort.

  5. to apply foundation and bronzer along the natural bone structure of (the face) to create definition:

    ways to contour your nose.


  1. molded or shaped to fit a particular contour or form:

    contour seats.

  2. Agriculture. of or used in a system of plowing, cultivating, sowing, etc., along the contour lines of the land in order to trap water runoff and prevent erosion.


/ ˈkɒntʊə /


  1. the outline of a mass of land, figure, or body; a defining line
    1. ( as modifier )

      a contour map

  2. often plural the shape or surface, esp of a curving form

    the contours of her body were full and round

  3. modifier shaped to fit the form of something

    a contour chair

  4. a rising and falling variation pattern, as in music and intonation


  1. to shape so as to form the contour of something
  2. to mark contour lines on
  3. to construct (a road, railway, etc) to follow the outline of the land

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Other Words From

  • re·con·tour verb (used with object)
  • un·con·toured adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of contour1

First recorded in 1655–65; from French, equivalent to con- + tour “a turn,” modeled on Italian contorno, derivative of contornare “to outline”; con-, tour, turn

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Word History and Origins

Origin of contour1

C17: from French, from Italian contorno, from contornare to sketch, from tornare to turn

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Example Sentences

There’s a broader struggle still underway over the contours of the regional order, and that is partly what motivates him.

From Ozy

Leather looks nice and lasts a lifetime, but it can’t retain a knife with the security of Kydex, a type of plastic that’s heat-molded to fit the exact contours of a specific knife model.

Because Kydex can snap around the blade’s rear and the handle’s contours, the material can be used to retain a knife in a variety of positions, including upside down, while still allowing you to quickly deploy it using a single hand.

It uses 3D laser-sensor technology, also known as lidar, to capture the contours of a gymnast’s body.

Magnetic field lines, imaginary contours that indicate the direction of the magnetic field at various locations, loop and cross over one another like well-mixed spaghetti.

It also reveals in vivid visual form the precise contour of the transition.

Under the one-sixth they appear as slender, highly refractive fibers with double contour and, often, curled or split ends.

I hastily ran over the contour of the country we had passed through, and saw that indeed the spring must be its headwaters.

The eagle disappeared into the air, while the soldier admired the curved contour of the panther.

He banked left and followed the contour of the mountain, and found another group of soldiers camped near the pumice works.

The rather flabby lines of his face had abruptly hardened over the firm contour below.


Related Words




contortivecontour curtain