- The definition of contour is the outline of something, such as of a social or geographic boundary.
- Behaviors that are within the bounds of what is socially acceptable are examples of behaviors that fit within the contours of society.
- The outline of the mountains seen in the distance is an example of the contour of the mountains.
- the outline of a figure, mass, land, etc.
- the representation of such an outline
Origin of contourFrench ; from Italian contorno ; from Late Latin contornare, to go around ; from Classical Latin com-, intensive + tornare, to turn in a lathe: see turn
- to make a contour or outline of
- to mark contour lines on
- to shape or mold to conform to the contour of something: a chair contoured to fit the body
- to construct (a road, etc.) in accordance with natural contours
- made so as to conform to the shape or outline of something: contour sheets for a bed
- characterized by the making of furrows along the natural contour lines so as to avoid erosion, as on a hillside: contour farming
- a. The outline of a figure, body, or mass. See Synonyms at form.b. A line that represents such an outline. See Synonyms at outline.
- A contour line.
- a. A varying characteristic or quality of something, such as a melody.b. Linguistics The distinctive rising and falling patterns of pitch, tone, or stress.
transitive verbcon·toured, con·tour·ing, con·tours
- To make or shape the outline of; represent in contour.
- To build (a road, for example) to follow the contour of the land.
- Following the contour lines of uneven terrain to limit erosion of topsoil: contour plowing.
- Shaped to fit the outline or form of something: a contour sheet.
Origin of contourFrench, alteration (influenced by tour, turn) of Italian contorno, from contornare, to draw in outline : Latin com-, intensive pref.; see com– + Latin tornāre, to round off (from tornus, lathe, from Greek tornos; see ter&schwa;-1 in Indo-European roots).
- An outline, boundary or border, usually of curved shape.
- The low drag contour of a modern automobile.
- A line on a map or chart delineating those points which have the same altitude or other plotted quantity: a contour line or isopleth.
- (linguistics) a speech sound which behaves as a single segment, but which makes an internal transition from one quality, place, or manner to another.