Definition of


  1. (noun, attribute) any spatial attributes (especially as defined by outline)
  2. (noun, cognition) a feature (or the order or arrangement of features) of anything having a complex structure
    it defines a major contour of this administration
  3. (noun, communication) a line drawn on a map connecting points of equal height
  4. (verb, creation) form the contours of

via WordNet, Princeton University

Origin of the word Contour

  1. 1660s, a term in painting and sculpture, from Fr. contour "circumference, outline," from M.L. contornare "to go around," from L. com- intens. prefix + tornare "to turn in a lathe," from tornus "lathe" (see turn). First recorded application to topography is from 1769. Related: Contoured (1725). Contour line in geography is from 18… more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

Note: If you're looking to improve your vocabulary right now, we highly recommend Ultimate Vocabulary Software.

Word of the Moment

Vicar Apostolic

a titular Roman Catholic bishop in a non-Catholic area