- 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 exhibit unlikeness on comparison with something else; form a contrast.
- Linguistics. to differ in a way that can serve to distinguish meanings: The sounds (p) and (b) contrast in the words “pin” and “bin.”
- the act of contrasting; the state of being contrasted.
- a striking exhibition of unlikeness.
- a person or thing that is strikingly unlike in comparison: The weather down here is a welcome contrast to what we're having back home.
- opposition or juxtaposition of different forms, lines, or colors in a work of art to intensify each element's properties and produce a more dynamic expressiveness.
- Photography. the relative difference between light and dark areas of a print or negative.
- Television. the brightness ratio of the lightest to the darkest part of the television screen image.
- Linguistics. a difference between linguistic elements, especially sounds, that can serve to distinguish meanings.
Origin of 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
Word Origin and History for contrastable
1690s, from French contraster (Old French contrester), modified by or from Italian contrastare "stand out against, strive, contend," from Vulgar Latin *contrastare "to withstand," from Latin contra "against" (see contra) + stare "to stand," from PIE root *sta- "to stand" (see stet).
Middle English had contrest "to fight against, to withstand," which became extinct. Modern word re-introduced as an art term. Related: Contrasted; contrasting; contrastive.
1711, from contrast (v.).