View synonyms for outline


[ out-lahyn ]


  1. the line by which a figure or object is defined or bounded; contour.
  2. a drawing or sketch restricted to line without shading or modeling of form.
  3. a general sketch, account, or report, indicating only the main features, as of a book, subject, or project:

    an outline of medieval history; an outline of a speech.

    Synonyms: summary, synopsis, rough, draft, plan

  4. outlines, the essential features or main aspects of something under discussion:

    At the first meeting, we gave her only the outlines of the project.

  5. Printing. an ornamented type in which the outside contours of each character appear in black, with the inside left white.

verb (used with object)

, out·lined, out·lin·ing.
  1. to draw the outline of, or draw in outline, as a figure or object.

    Synonyms: draft, delineate

  2. to give an outline of; sketch the main features of:

    On the first day, the professor just outlined the course for us.

    Synonyms: draft, delineate


/ ˈaʊtˌlaɪn /


  1. a preliminary or schematic plan, draft, account, etc
  2. usually plural the important features of an argument, theory, work, etc
  3. the line by which an object or figure is or appears to be bounded
    1. a drawing or manner of drawing consisting only of external lines
    2. ( as modifier )

      an outline map


  1. to draw or display the outline of
  2. to give the main features or general idea of

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Other Words From

  • pre·outline noun verb (used with object) preoutlined preoutlining
  • re·outline verb (used with object) reoutlined reoutlining
  • well-outlined adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of outline1

First recorded in 1655–65; out- + line 1

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Synonym Study

See form.

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Example Sentences

When everything is named for its discoverer, it can be impossible even to track the outline of a debate without months of rote memorization.

Facebook said it observed “more than a 50% drop” in publisher revenue when personalized targeting was taken out of the equation —though it didn’t publish a detailed outline of the study.

From Digiday

San Diego County officials are working with the state on a plan to re-open certain businesses, now that the county is off the state’s monitoring list, and could release the outline next week, the Union-Tribune reports.

Instead, try pitching blog post ideas or outlines where you can create original, unique content for each website.

Still, in name recognition and salary — their nearly $240 million payroll led baseball in 2013, and that number ballooned to $246 million and $303 million over the next two seasons — the outline of a superteam was there.

Just hours after the announcement in Beijing, Republican senators began to outline just how much they disdained the new agreement.

“I had this outline that said I was going to be done in nine months,” Caro said.

Sometimes he would just have an outline of the scene and we would build the dialogue out with our own words.

This spurred Creative Director Adam Isgreen, who also worked on Killer Instinct, to outline of a Phantom Dust reboot—just in case.

Teardrops flow between the eyes as a flame emanates from the outline of his body.

Frequently they are found in alveolar arrangement, retaining the original outline of the alveoli of the lung (Fig. 4, b).

It was the darkest hour of twilight, when there was just enough of gleam from the lurid sky, to shew the outline of objects.

They are usually shorter and more irregular in outline, and more frequently have irregularly broken ends.

It was their firm conviction that the system under which we live was, in its broad outline, a system of even justice.

As she left the wood she saw a big hay-stack, as firm and shapely of outline as a house, not a loose wisp anywhere.





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