English

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The picture in the lower half shows the contours of elevation of the mountains above. The points on a single curve are at same elevation. Different lines may be at different elevation whose value is given in between the lines

Etymology

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Borrowed from French contour, from contourner, equivalent to con- +‎ tour.

Pronunciation

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  • IPA(key): /ˈkɒntʊə(ɹ)/, /-tɔː(ɹ)/
  • Audio (US):(file)
  • Homophone: kontor

Noun

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contour (plural contours)

  1. An outline, boundary or border, usually of curved shape.
    the low drag contour of a modern automobile
    • 1941 October, “Notes and News: Great Western Parcels Railcar”, in Railway Magazine, page 474:
      The semi-streamlined contour of the earlier G.W.R. railcars has been given up in favour of a more utilitarian blunt-nose end, and effective floor space gained thereby.
  2. A line on a map or chart delineating those points which have the same altitude or other plotted quantity: a contour line or isopleth.
    Synonym: contour line
  3. (linguistics) a speech sound which behaves as a single segment, but which makes an internal transition from one quality, place, or manner to another.
    Hyponyms: diphthong, contour tone, affricate
  4. (figurative) A general description giving the most important points.
    • January 7 2023, Lisa Mascaro, Farnoush Amiri, “McCarthy elected House speaker in rowdy post-midnight vote”, in AP News[1]:
      Contours of a deal with conservative holdouts who had been blocking McCarthy’s rise had emerged the night before, and took hold after four dismal days and 14 failed votes in an intraparty standoff unseen in modern times.

Derived terms

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Translations

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Verb

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contour (third-person singular simple present contours, present participle contouring, simple past and past participle contoured)

  1. (transitive) To form a more or less curved boundary or border upon.
  2. (transitive) To mark with contour lines.
  3. (intransitive) To practise the makeup technique of contouring.
    • 2015 April 29, Kathleen Hou, “Why French Women Don’t Contour”, in The Cut[2], New York, U.S.A.: Vox Media, retrieved July 2, 2020:
      What is the French-preferred method to add dimension to the skin, if not to contour?

Anagrams

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French

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Etymology

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Deverbal of contourner

Pronunciation

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Noun

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contour m (plural contours)

  1. contour

Further reading

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Spanish

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Noun

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contour m (plural contours)

  1. contour