Definition of contrast noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈkɒntrɑːst//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈkɑːntræst//
    Describing art, Watching TV
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  1. 1  [countable, uncountable] a difference between two or more people or things that you can see clearly when they are compared or put close together; the fact of comparing two or more things in order to show the differences between them contrast (between A and B) There is an obvious contrast between the cultures of East and West. contrast (to somebody/something) The company lost $7 million this quarter in contrast to a profit of $6.2 million a year earlier. The situation when we arrived was in marked contrast to the news reports. The poverty of her childhood stands in total contrast to her life in Hollywood. contrast (with somebody/something) to show a sharp/stark/striking contrast with something contrast (in something) A wool jacket complements the silk trousers and provides an interesting contrast in texture. When you look at their new system, ours seems very old-fashioned by contrast. contrast (of something) Careful contrast of the two plans shows some important differences. Language BankcontrastHighlighting differences This survey highlights a number of differences in the way that teenage boys and girls in the UK spend their free time. One of the main differences between the girls and the boys who took part in the research was the way in which they use the Internet. Unlike the girls, who use the Internet mainly to keep in touch with friends, the boys questioned in this survey tend to use the Internet for playing computer games. The girls differ from the boys in that they tend to spend more time keeping in touch with friends on the telephone or on social networking websites. Compared to the boys, the girls spend much more time chatting to friends on the telephone. On average the girls spend four hours a week chatting to friends on the phone. In contrast, very few of the boys spend more than five minutes a day talking to their friends in this way. The boys prefer competitive sports and computer games, whereas/while the girls seem to enjoy more cooperative activities, such as shopping with friends. When the girls go shopping, they mainly buy clothes and cosmetics. The boys, on the other hand, tend to purchase computer games or gadgets. language bank at generally, illustrate, proportion, similarly, surprising
  2. 2[countable, usually singular] contrast (to somebody/something) a person or thing that is clearly different from somebody/something else The work you did today is quite a contrast to (= very much better/worse than) what you did last week.
  3. 3[uncountable] differences in colour or in light and dark, used in photographs and paintings to create a special effect The artist's use of contrast is masterly. See related entries: Describing art
  4. 4[uncountable] the amount of difference between light and dark in a photograph or the picture on a television screen Use this button to adjust the contrast. See related entries: Watching TV
  5. Word Originlate 17th cent. (as a term in fine art, in the sense ‘juxtapose so as to bring out differences in form and colour’): from French contraste (noun), contraster (verb), via Italian from medieval Latin contrastare, from Latin contra- ‘against’ + stare ‘stand’.Extra examples Her hair was black, a stunning contrast to her pale complexion. In contrast, the south suffered very little hurricane damage. The company lost $13 million this year, in contrast with a profit of $15 million last year. The contrast between the sisters was very strong. The contrast in appearance between the sisters was striking. The flowers provide a contrast with the dark background. The fresh fruit provides a contrast to the rich chocolate pudding. The two cities make an interesting contrast. The writer emphasizes the contrast between conventional and alternative medicine. Their attitudes to marriage stand in stark contrast to those of their parents. There is a stark contrast between the lives of the rich and those of the poor. This busy social life was a complete contrast to his old quiet life. When you look at their new system, ours seems very old-fashioned by contrast. A wool jacket with silk trousers provides an interesting contrast in texture. The work you did today is quite a contrast to what you did last week. There is a striking contrast between the two painters’ work.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: contrast

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