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From French contraster, from Italian contrastare (to resist", "to withstand), from Vulgar Latin *contrāstāre, from Latin contrā (against) + stō, stāre (to stand)


  • (verb)
    (UK) IPA(key): /kənˈtɹɑːst/
    (US) enPR: kəntrăst', kŏn'trăst, IPA(key): /kənˈt(ʃ)ɹæst/, /ˈkɑnt(ʃ)ɹæst/
  • Rhymes: -ɑːst


contrast (countable and uncountable, plural contrasts)

  1. (countable) A difference in lightness, brightness and/or hue between two colours that makes them more or less distinguishable.
    1. (uncountable) The degree of this difference.
      The red and the orange don't have much contrast between them — I can hardly tell them apart.
    2. (countable) A control on a television, etc, that adjusts the amount of contrast in the images being displayed.
  2. (countable) A difference between two objects, people or concepts.
    Israel is a country of many contrasts.
    • 1908, W[illiam] B[lair] M[orton] Ferguson, chapter I, in Zollenstein, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 731476803:
      The colonel and his sponsor made a queer contrast: Greystone [the sponsor] long and stringy, with a face that seemed as if a cold wind was eternally playing on it.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chapter 11:
      ... there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast.
  3. (countable, uncountable, rhetoric) Antithesis.

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contrast (third-person singular simple present contrasts, present participle contrasting, simple past and past participle contrasted)

  1. (transitive) To set in opposition in order to show the difference or differences between.
  2. (intransitive) To form a contrast.
    Foreground and background strongly contrast.
    • Lyell
      The joints which divide the sandstone contrast finely with the divisional planes which separate the basalt into pillars.

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contrast m (plural contrasts or contrastos)

  1. contrast