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 show striking difference when compared with or viewed alongside something else: Youth leadership on the issue contrasts with government inaction.The blue of the wood trim contrasts nicely with the pale yellow walls.
Linguistics. to differ in a way that can serve to distinguish meanings: The sounds (p) and (b) contrast in the words “pin” and “bin.”
a striking difference: The study revealed interesting contrasts between people who regularly read books and those who don't.
a person or thing that is strikingly different in comparison: The weather down here is a welcome contrast to what we're having back home.
opposition or juxtaposition of different formal elements in a work of art, music, or literature to intensify each element's properties and make the work more dynamically expressive: The artist makes effective use of color contrast in the illustrations.There’s a stark contrast of tempo in the sonata’s two movements.
the act of comparing people or things so as to draw attention to striking differences between them: Each essay topic involves the contrast of two of the novels studied in the course.
Photography. the relative difference between light and dark areas of a print, digital photograph, or negative.
the brightness ratio of the lightest to the darkest part of the screen image on a television, computer, or other electronic device.
Linguistics. a difference between linguistic elements, especially sounds, that can serve to distinguish meanings.
Idioms about contrast
in contrast, in comparison to something that is the opposite or strikingly different in some respect: In contrast to personal computers, which are rare in that country, cell phones are widely available and even most children have their own.
stand in contrast to / with, to show a striking difference when compared to or with: The actor’s on-screen gun violence stands in contrast to her real-life persona as an advocate for gun control.
- con·trast·a·ble, adjective
- con·trast·a·bly, adverb
- con·trast·ing·ly, adverb
- qua·si-con·trast·ed, adjective
- un·con·trast·a·ble, adjective
- un·con·trast·a·bly, adverb
- un·con·trast·ed, adjective
- un·con·trast·ing, adjective
- well-con·trast·ed, adjective
- compare, contrast
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use contrast in a sentence
By contrast, no song from SSA has ever hit the 300 million mark.The Biggest Challenge for Apple and Spotify in North Africa: YouTube | Eromo Egbejule | September 17, 2020 | Ozy
Inhibited children, in contrast, avoided chances to make friends in new situations and to stand out academically or socially in school.‘The Origins of You’ explores how kids develop into their adult selves | Bruce Bower | September 16, 2020 | Science News
By contrast, the “deoptimized” coronavirus has several hundred genetic changes.Synthetic biologists have created a slow-growing version of the coronavirus to give as a vaccine | David Rotman | September 16, 2020 | MIT Technology Review
In contrast, Biden did not travel Tuesday to South Florida, where there are signs he is struggling with the Cuban American community.Biden visits Florida as Democrats worry about his standing in the state | Sean Sullivan | September 15, 2020 | Washington Post
By contrast, our death rate is roughly 58 per 100,000 Americans, more than five times Germany’s per capita toll.America Is About to Lose Its 200,000th Life to Coronavirus. How Many More Have to Die? | by Stephen Engelberg | September 14, 2020 | ProPublica
“After the New York mentality, it is the ultimate contrast to see people making things by hand,” he said.The Photographer Who Gave Up Manhattan for Marrakech | Liza Foreman | January 6, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
In contrast, Boehner's leadership team filed into his ceremonial office and greeted the teary newly-elected Speaker with hugs.Democrats Accidentally Save Boehner From Republican Coup | Ben Jacobs, Jackie Kucinich | January 6, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
By contrast, John McCain, the eventual GOP nominee, had raised approximately $12.7 million in the first quarter of 2007 alone.
In contrast to Paul, Huckabee has never palled around with Al Sharpton.
By contrast, a gun will allow a pilot to attack hostile forces that are less than 300 feet from friendly ground forces.New U.S. Stealth Jet Can’t Fire Its Gun Until 2019 | Dave Majumdar | December 31, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
But the contrast thus presented is one that has acquired a new meaning in the age in which we live.The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice | Stephen Leacock
In contrast to the Widal, it begins to fade about the end of the second week, and soon thereafter entirely disappears.A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis | James Campbell Todd
This contrast implies a great wrong somewhere, and for which somebody must be responsible.Glances at Europe | Horace Greeley
The contrast between the open street and the enclosed stuffiness of the dim and crowded interior was overwhelming.Hilda Lessways | Arnold Bennett
His life had been the strangest contrast to the calm countenance which I saw so tranquilly listen to its own tale.
British Dictionary definitions for contrast
(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
- contrastable, adjective
- contrastably, adverb
- contrasting, adjective
- contrastive, adjective
- contrastively, adverb
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