contour line


a line joining points of equal elevation on a surface.
the representation of such a line on a map.
Mathematics. a line parallel to a trace.Compare trace1 (def. 11).



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Also called contour, level curve, level line.

Origin of contour line

First recorded in 1835–45 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for contour line

  • The contour-line of 0, or datum level, is the coastal boundary of any land form.

  • It follows the 600-feet contour-line and winds 211 therefore exactly round the outline of the hill.

    The Old Road|Hilaire Belloc
  • It ran straight along the 300-feet contour-line, and took the southern edge of a wood called Brockham Warren.

    The Old Road|Hilaire Belloc

British Dictionary definitions for contour line

contour line


a line on a map or chart joining points of equal height or depthOften shortened to: contour
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

Scientific definitions for contour line

contour line
[ kŏntur′ ]

A line on a map joining points of equal elevation above a given level, usually mean sea level.♦ The change in elevation between one contour line and the next is the contour interval.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.