Definition of outline in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈoutˌlīn/


1A line or set of lines enclosing or indicating the shape of an object in a sketch or diagram: fill in the outlines with color
More example sentences
  • These often show white underdrawing, probably white chalk, or outlines sketched in thin oil paint, either in white or a slightly darker shade of the ground colour.
  • On a bright yellow ground, round or oval passages of gritty, greenish relief become squirting slices of citrus fruit, their outlines sketched in charcoal.
  • Thin, firm outlines now enclose each figure's palpably modeled form and the palette focuses on jewel-like variations on the primaries and black.
silhouette, profile, shape, contours, form, line, delineation;
diagram, sketch
literary lineaments
1.1A line or set of lines perceived as defining the contours or bounds of an object: the outlines of her face
More example sentences
  • And the next shot is exactly that of a languid, exquisitely shaped flower which picks up and repeats the outline of the bound foot.
  • The common female pictogram usually appears on women's restrooms, and the figure typically has the outline of a skirt.
  • Proportion we say is these outlines and contours positioned in proportion in their places.
2A general description or plan giving the essential features of something but not the detail: an outline of the theory of evolution a course outline
More example sentences
  • The General submitted the broad outlines of his plan to Lincoln and the President trusting in Grant approved the design without seeking to know the details.
  • It is a criterion that those of us who teach college students would do well to keep in mind as we plan our course outlines.
  • On both sides, however, there is broad agreement on the general outlines, despite extensive divergence on the details.
rough idea, thumbnail sketch, (quick) rundown, summary, synopsis, résumé, précis;
essence, main/key points, gist, (bare) bones, draft, sketch


[with object]
1Draw, trace, or define the outer edge or shape of (something): her large eyes were darkly outlined with eyeliner
More example sentences
  • The noise was Paula opening the door, blue dawn light outlining the frayed edges of her hair.
  • The wind whipped at her skirt pulling the material taut across her calves and thighs, outlining her shape as the marble of a statue.
  • Once both coats have dried, carefully outline the edges of the door with your trim material (we glued on a gold border).
silhouette, define, demarcate;
sketch, delineate, trace
2Give a summary of (something): she outlined the case briefly
More example sentences
  • At the start of each day, a semi-official guide is issued outlining the expected order of business.
  • We issued a report outlining the problem and made recommendations on how to solve it.
  • Delegates said a statement will be issued later outlining the results of the meetings.
rough out, sketch out, draft, give a rough idea of, summarize, précis

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: out·line

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