[ sil-oo-et ]
See synonyms for: silhouettesilhouetted on

  1. a two-dimensional representation of the outline of an object, as a cutout or configurational drawing, uniformly filled in with black, especially a black-paper, miniature cutout of the outlines of a person's face in profile.

  2. the outline or general shape of something: the slim silhouette of a skyscraper.

  1. a dark image outlined against a lighter background.

verb (used with object),sil·hou·et·ted, sil·hou·et·ting.
  1. to show in or as if in a silhouette.

  2. Printing. to remove the background details from (a halftone cut) so as to produce an outline effect.

Origin of silhouette

First recorded in 1790–1800; from French à la silhouette, after Etienne de Silhouette (1709–67), French finance minister; the surname Silhouette is ultimately from Basque Zilhoeta, from zilo, zilho, zulo “hole” + -eta, toponymic suffix

Other words from silhouette

  • un·sil·hou·et·ted, adjective

Words Nearby silhouette Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use silhouette in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for silhouette


/ (ˌsɪluːˈɛt) /

  1. the outline of a solid figure as cast by its shadow

  2. an outline drawing filled in with black, often a profile portrait cut out of black paper and mounted on a light ground

  1. (tr) to cause to appear in silhouette

Origin of silhouette

C18: named after Étienne de Silhouette (1709–67), French politician, perhaps referring to silhouettes as partial portraits, with a satirical allusion to Silhouette's brief career as controller general (1759)

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