Definition of contrast in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The state of being strikingly different from something else in juxtaposition or close association.

    ‘the day began cold and blustery, in contrast to almost two weeks of uninterrupted sunshine’
    [count noun] ‘a contrast between rural and urban trends’
    ‘Kos is an island of contrasts’
    • ‘Warm melodic figures are juxtaposed with harsher percussive patterns, setting up some fascinating contrasts in sound.’
    • ‘No typological or technological contrasts were noted between different site phases.’
    • ‘The deliberate contrast between moving forward and moving backwards creates a clear juxtaposition.’
    • ‘The contrast between the two men couldn't be more distinct.’
    • ‘This confirms a striking electoral contrast between the US and western Europe, including Britain.’
    • ‘We now see it as a place of environmental damage and chronic water problems, in contrast to earlier generations, who saw it in a more romantic guise.’
    • ‘What has really struck me is the amazing contrast between events far away and events close to home.’
    • ‘Only the contrasts in density between different rock types are important for modelling.’
    • ‘One can further continue the associations with the contrasts of righteousness and wrongdoing, life and death and the like.’
    • ‘The contrast between the two - and what this contrast says about the men in their lives - should be stark.’
    • ‘One of the contrasts between the different Indian calendars relate to their respective religious associations.’
    • ‘The second building can be distinguished by its plain windows, in contrast to the multi-paned windows in the earlier building.’
    • ‘It's all about contrasts and contradictions - the smart and the scruffy, the rough and the smooth.’
    • ‘But I think it's the contrasts and the contradictions of the opportunities that London presents which make it so appealing.’
    • ‘Golf is generally considered a game for the upper classes, in contrast to fishing, which can be enjoyed by anybody with access to a rod and stream.’
    • ‘It was also associated with the domestic, in contrast to the male, and very public, associations of coffee and coffeehouses.’
    • ‘Visiting this mysterious island of rich contrasts might mean travelling long distances, but a few days there produce lasting memories.’
    • ‘It's such an island of contrasts, and it is remote, it's remote geographically from all continents.’
    • ‘These wonderfully peaceful footpaths make for easy walking and offer a tranquil sojourn from which to appreciate the contrasts of this island.’
    • ‘In contrast to these associations, there was no correlation between leaf and cell width, nor between leaf and cell length.’
    difference, dissimilarity, disparity, dissimilitude, distinction, contradistinction, divergence, variance, variation, differentiation
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    1. 1.1Differences in colour, tone, or shape that contribute to the visual effect of a design or image.
      ‘match the trimming with one of the stronger colours in the pattern to provide contrast’
      • ‘Each exploits contrast and color while elaborating motivic detail and assiduously building climaxes.’
      • ‘In fact a typeface may appear bigger with the use of contrast in color.’
      • ‘Unusual for his acrylic paintings, this work has little color contrast.’
      • ‘The pearly grey colour and rough texture forms an expressive contrast with the smooth white render.’
      • ‘In daylight, a fiber optic system collects ambient light and helps ensure daytime brightness and controlled contrast.’
      • ‘Where colors meet, the contrast between them will appear more intense.’
      • ‘Everything else was in bright color, the contrast turned up.’
      • ‘Each object and even items of clothing were carefully chosen to assist in contrast, brightness and color calibration.’
      • ‘Males and females appear similar, but males are brighter with more contrast in color on the head.’
      • ‘A slight contrast in colors and fitted lines will flatter you endlessly.’
      • ‘Despite the contrast of materials and color, the home's skillful siting puts it elegantly at ease in its rugged environment.’
      • ‘The effect works best with a strong color or tonal contrast or with a brightly colored subject set against a dark background.’
      • ‘He believed that painting should be concerned with contrasts, but contrasts not only of colour, but line and form.’
      • ‘A small font size or poor choice of color contrast may make a site hard to use.’
      • ‘Cool, light and dull colors that keep contrast to a minimum can expand a room's dimensions to appear larger than it actually is.’
      • ‘Go after less of a light/dark color contrast in untailored and unmatched styles.’
      • ‘On the other hand, it doesn't have detail, contrast, or color depth either.’
      • ‘For great foliage and color contrast, plant yellow nasturtiums around the outer rim of the planter.’
      • ‘Every room had just the right contrast of color and furniture.’
      • ‘In both cases, the contrast of white and color serves to highlight the power and importance of the ruler.’
    2. 1.2The difference between tones in a television picture, photograph, etc.
      ‘careful adjustment of the contrast to suit the prevailing light is critical’
      [in combination] ‘high-contrast images’
      • ‘The show has a unique visual style, embracing the lower contrast of the television medium by truncating the value range.’
      • ‘It has the advantage of being variable contrast, and also possesses very clean whites.’
      • ‘It provides the coldest tone and the greatest contrast I have been able to achieve with the camera.’
      • ‘Slow shutter speed, high contrast and serendipitous symmetry made the risk well worth it.’
      • ‘Thus, we are presented with stunning back-lighting, high contrast, and sharp lines.’
      • ‘Increasing the base exposure increases contrast in the copy negative.’
      • ‘In highly alkaline solutions it produces a high speed, high contrast developer suitable for process work.’
      • ‘Traditional darkroom techniques such as adjustment of contrast and gray scale are permitted.’
      • ‘Better still, try working early and late in the day, when the light is less harsh and contrast isn't such a problem.’
      • ‘I add one drop of the various percentage solutions depending on the amount of contrast I wish to add.’
      • ‘Sometimes I purposely overexpose, then bleach, in order to increase contrast.’
      • ‘Wall sized prints without grain or noise are possible, and both resolution and contrast are outstanding.’
      • ‘For accuracy, the images should have strong grayscale contrast between materials of different refractive indices.’
      • ‘Colors and flesh tones are strong and natural with very strong contrast and the picture shows no edge enhancement to speak of.’
      • ‘It is a visually impressive film, using high contrast digital photography to make the daytime burn and the nights darker than reality.’
      • ‘The material and the production technology have been optimized to heighten contrast and achieve brilliance.’
      • ‘The picture sports gorgeous contrast that runs from sparkling whites, to inky blacks, and a myriad shades of gray in between.’
      • ‘In such a case, the second exposure merely serves to reduce overall paper contrast.’
      • ‘It seems to work particularly well with pyro negatives, producing superb contrast and gradation.’
      • ‘I tried to adjust the contrast on this picture because you couldn't see the swans clearly in the fog.’
    3. 1.3[in singular]A thing or person having qualities noticeably different from another.
      ‘the castle is quite a contrast to other places where the singer has performed’
      • ‘And the community itself seems locked in a time capsule - a complete contrast to the lifestyle of bustling neighbour, Amsterdam.’
      • ‘The hotel is of a modern design, but conforming to the environment in that it does not present an immediate contrast to its surroundings.’
      • ‘All the buildings, dating from the colonial era are painted deep yellow, which made a glorious contrast to the deepening blue sky as we clip-clopped around.’
      • ‘Vocal solos were provided by Emma Howarth, who sang with confidence and originality, and Sacha Bell, whose slower numbers made a good contrast to the rest of the set.’
      • ‘His methods were a contrast to the traditional way of ‘breaking’ horses by establishing the dominance of the human trainer.’
      • ‘An easy four-hour drive from either Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, laid-back Melaka offers an idyllic contrast to both cities.’
      • ‘These textures appear to have been chosen, in part, as a contrast to the sonic qualities of the sampled acoustic piano.’
      • ‘You could not find a greater contrast to such contemplative serenity than the National Gallery's magnificent Rubens exhibition.’
      • ‘We have some amazing pictures of palm trees being battered by 45 mph winds, a marked contrast to identical photos taken when the sun was shining.’
      • ‘The stance of the residents is a stark contrast to those who feel the project will give a much-needed shot in the arm to the cross-border economy.’
      • ‘It will be a huge contrast to how we live, and it will be a fantastic experience.’
      • ‘As well as wanting a contemporary contrast to the old stone cottage, the site also demanded a lightweight structure to avoid further subsidence problems.’
      • ‘The figures are a stark contrast to earlier years.’
      • ‘Richard Ashton has appeared in Jack And The Beanstalk already this year, but what a contrast to this winter's pantomime engagement at York Theatre Royal.’
      • ‘And Santiago was a welcome contrast to previous weeks.’
      • ‘It was quite a contrast to his list of options at 22.’
      • ‘Humans are discussed as arrogant and blundering, an unflattering contrast to the innocent and compassionate chimps or gorillas.’
      • ‘It sounds normal, which is a nice contrast to how it looks.’
      • ‘Walking to the station on Wednesday morning, the sky was a brilliant, vibrant blue, the grass an almost unnaturally intense green and the white blossom a stark contrast to it all.’
      • ‘It makes an interesting contrast to historical fact.’
      opposite, antithesis
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  • 1 Differ strikingly.

    ‘his friend's success contrasted with his own failure’
    ‘a contrasting view’
    • ‘This addition sharply contrasted with the previously open plan of the house.’
    • ‘The light and happy scene contrasted with his dark and aching heart; he started to turn away.’
    • ‘Characters are blocky and the colors contrast well.’
    • ‘My statement then silenced everyone and the truth was that it totally contrasted with how I felt.’
    • ‘The treatments resulted in contrasting patterns of fruit growth.’
    • ‘As consort she supplied the human touch that contrasted with the more austere image and personality of her husband.’
    • ‘A thick murky dust covered its surface and contrasted with the radiance of the moat below.’
    • ‘The brothers' contrasting fortunes instill a sense of survivor's guilt in Porter.’
    • ‘This might not seem like a ringing endorsement of war, but it contrasted with his gloomy assessments in the previous year.’
    • ‘Wilson and Johnson, moreover, had contrasting views of the Anglo-American relationship.’
    • ‘However, contrasting views of human demography have emerged from analyses of different components of the genome.’
    • ‘Her wavy hair was a dark brown that contrasted with her pale skin and brought out her shockingly blue eyes.’
    • ‘His sandy blonde hair contrasted with his dark tanned skin, implying that he was at the beach often.’
    • ‘She is now again winning admiration for strongly contrasting performances in three new films.’
    • ‘The cultural aspects of the introduction of tea to Europe contrasted with those of cacao and coffee.’
    • ‘They were a deep green that contrasted with her hair and made them stand out.’
    • ‘The fat and salt levels in many own-brand products contrasted with those of well known brands.’
    • ‘Its big plain glass windows contrasted with the dark glass of pubs which were designed to prevent people seeing in.’
    • ‘The popular perception that an intergenerational equity debate emerged in Canada in the 1990s contrasts with previous research findings.’
    • ‘The beautiful and vast Texan landscape is well-shot and contrasts strikingly with the character close ups, intensifying their isolation.’
    differ from, be at variance with, be contrary to, conflict with, go against, be at odds with, be in opposition to, disagree with, clash with
    set off, complement
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    1. 1.1[with object]Compare in such a way as to emphasize differences.
      ‘people contrasted her with her sister’
      • ‘The purpose of this article is to review, compare, and contrast the various aspects of these documents.’
      • ‘Were they comparing and contrasting the level of entertainment in here with the action outside?’
      • ‘Psychoanalytic approaches to film are often contrasted with cognitive approaches, those who support the latter typically eschewing the former.’
      • ‘This gave me a chance to compare and contrast the experience of a new participant at each of these conferences.’
      • ‘They will also compare and contrast the ways in which the three types of couples relate to their siblings and parents.’
      • ‘To generate hypotheses about mechanisms in humans, one must compare and contrast different lead exposure and dose measures.’
      • ‘To compare it or to contrast it with art is complicated and difficult.’
      • ‘A major difference in the findings contrasts those for outreach clients and the other respondent groups.’
      • ‘And then we can compare and contrast those different case study examples and look for any sorts of similarities or commonalities that come out of that.’
      • ‘A simulation model has been developed to compare and contrast the results of our model with those of other traffic flow models.’
      • ‘I will compare and contrast the California and Iran earthquakes in a future post.’
      • ‘The following example also contrasts two different times, but they are both in the past.’
      • ‘Using molecular biology as well as traditional morphology, Museum scientists can compare and contrast the evidence.’
      • ‘I shall examine why this is the case by contrasting different approaches to Kant.’
      • ‘The lessons in the text compare and contrast the differences between dealing with men and women.’
      • ‘During group time, the students made lists and charts, so they could compare and contrast their opinions.’
      • ‘We also compared and contrasted the results of the last review to those of the new systems.’
      • ‘It compares and contrasts unclassified English-language sites and summarizes the available data.’
      • ‘I was amazed at how many times the Apostle Paul compares and contrasts the Lord Jesus Christ with Adam.’
      • ‘To be able to understand that better, we need to compare and contrast it to Mercury itself.’
      compare, set side by side, juxtapose
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Late 17th century (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.