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
The crust bakes up deliciously crisp and toasty, a delicious contrast to the smooth, sweet filling.Dig into this fall-spice pudding pie nestled in a nut crust and topped with whipped cream | Erin Jeanne McDowell | November 12, 2020 | Washington Post
Facebook removed that video from its service but let Bannon continue to broadcast, in contrast to Twitter, which kicked Bannon off its service.Election misinformation is spreading with and without social media’s help | Danielle Abril | November 7, 2020 | Fortune
In contrast, e-commerce sales now account for between 11% an 12% of Procter & Gambe’s total sales.‘Growing two times faster than the rest of the market’: Inside L’Oreal’s e-commerce playbook | Seb Joseph | November 6, 2020 | Digiday
Image models like object recognition systems, by contrast, learn more directly from reality.This could lead to the next big breakthrough in common sense AI | Karen Hao | November 6, 2020 | MIT Technology Review
Risk-assessment algorithms, by contrast, use historical data to predict the likelihood a defendant would reoffend during their pretrial period, and decide whether to jail or release them based on that probability.Here are the main tech ballot initiatives that passed in this election | Abby Ohlheiser | November 4, 2020 | MIT Technology Review
Contrastingly Constantines magnificently theatrical site gives entirely another view-point for the stranger within its gates.In the Land of Mosques & Minarets | Francis Miltoun
This effect was heightened by generously broad hands and feet and a contrastingly abbreviated chin.
The same poet's "Western Wind" is given a setting contrastingly dainty and serene.Contemporary American Composers | Rupert Hughes
Judith thought contrastingly of Eben King's staring, primrose-colored house in all its bare, intrusive grandeur.Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1904 | Lucy Maud Montgomery
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