Definition of silhouette in English:


Syllabification: sil·hou·ette
Pronunciation: /ˌsilo͞oˈet


  • 1The dark shape and outline of someone or something visible against a lighter background, especially in dim light.
    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.
  • 1.1A representation of someone or something showing the shape and outline only, typically colored in solid black.
    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.


[with object] (usually be silhouetted) Back to top  
  • Cast or show (someone or something) as a dark shape and outline against a lighter 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.
    outline, delineate, define; stand out


in silhouette

Seen or placed as a silhouette.
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.


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

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