contour

[ kon-toor ]
/ ˈkɒn tʊər /

noun

verb (used with object)

adjective

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

Origin of contour

1655–65; < French, equivalent to con- con- + tour a turn (see tour), modeled on Italian contorno, derivative of contornare to outline; see turn
Related formsre·con·tour, verb (used with object)un·con·toured, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for contour

British Dictionary definitions for contour

contour

/ (ˈkɒntʊə) /

noun

verb (tr)

Word Origin for contour

C17: from French, from Italian contorno, from contornare to sketch, from tornare to turn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for contour

contour


n.

1660s, a term in painting and sculpture, from French contour "circumference, outline," from Italian and Medieval Latin contornare "to go around," from Latin com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + tornare "to turn (on a lathe);" see turn (v.).

First recorded application to topography is from 1769. Earlier the word was used to mean "bedspread, quilt" (early 15c.) in reference to its falling over the sides of the mattress. Related: Contoured. Contour line in geography is from 1844.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper