Share this entry

Share this page

silhouette

Line breaks: sil¦hou|ette
Pronunciation: /ˌsɪlʊˈɛt
 
/

Definition of silhouette in English:

noun

1The dark shape and outline of someone or something visible in restricted light against a brighter background: she paused to see its silhouette against the dimming sky
More example sentences
  • The design of their silhouettes against the light background with full windows is reminiscent of a Japanese screen.
  • They dive down deep and look for prey that appear as dark silhouettes against the brighter underside of the ice.
  • Dark silhouettes lurched crazily in the flickering light, while the pub doors creaked and slammed threatrically in the wind.
Synonyms
outline, contour(s), profile, delineation, form, shape, figure, shadow, features, lines, curves, configuration
1.1A representation of someone or something showing the shape and outline only, typically coloured in solid black: we can always use a silhouette of Father Christmas
More example sentences
  • These works are positives, so the amphibians are sharp, black silhouettes.
  • Sugiura often uses the photogram as a paper negative to print a positive, in which the subject becomes a black silhouette.
  • In one painting enigmatically titled Hoovering, there appears to be a black silhouette of a rabbit.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
Cast or show (someone or something) as a dark shape and outline against a brighter background: the castle was silhouetted against the sky
More example sentences
  • Even though it was dark, the moonlight silhouetted the intricate stone outline of the school.
  • Before the young man knew what was happening, two of the figures at the alley's entrance fell silently, silhouetting another dark figure with a silver longsword in his or her hand.
  • He was silhouetted against the outlines of the two empty beds across the room.
Synonyms
outline, etch, delineate, define, demarcate, delimit, mark off, trace;
(be silhouetted)stand out

Origin

late 18th century: named (although the reason remains uncertain) after Étienne de Silhouette (1709–67), French author and politician.

Phrases

in silhouette

1
Seen or placed as a silhouette: the old windmill stood out in silhouette against the sky
More example sentences
  • Connie sashays to the doorway where she stands in silhouette for a long, luxurious moment.
  • There, standing in silhouette against a backdrop of open sky and sweeping land, stood a man and his dog.
  • He stood in silhouette in the doorframe, head down, leaning against the side as if exhausted.

Definition of silhouette in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day prepotent
Pronunciation: prɪˈpəʊt(ə)nt
adjective
greater than others in power or influence