[ kon-toor ]
See synonyms for: contourcontouredcontouring on

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

  1. 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.

  1. to build (a road, railroad track, etc.) in conformity with the contour of the land.

  2. to mold or shape so as to fit a certain configuration: cars with seats that are contoured for comfort.

  3. 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.

Origin of contour

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

Other words for contour

Other words from contour

  • re·con·tour, verb (used with object)
  • un·con·toured, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use contour in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for contour


/ (ˈkɒntʊə) /

  1. the outline of a mass of land, figure, or body; a defining line

  1. (often plural) the shape or surface, esp of a curving form: the contours of her body were full and round

  2. (modifier) shaped to fit the form of something: a contour chair

  3. 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

  1. to construct (a road, railway, etc) to follow the outline of the land

Origin of 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