Other forms: contrasted; contrasts; contrasting

The verb contrast means to show a difference, like photos that reveal how much weight someone lost by contrasting the "before" and "after" shots.

You probably know contrast in its relation to compare. To contrast something is to look for differences among two or more elements, but compare is to do the opposite, to look for similarities. It's easy to tell the difference if you remember that contrast comes from the Latin root contra, and means "against." Contrast is also a noun meaning basically the same thing — you might notice the contrast of a dark tree against a snow-covered hill.

Definitions of contrast
  1. noun
    the opposition or dissimilarity of things that are compared
    “"in contrast to", "by contrast”
    synonyms: direct contrast
    see moresee less
    type of:
    oppositeness, opposition
    the relation between opposed entities
  2. noun
    the act of distinguishing by comparing differences
    see moresee less
    type of:
    comparing, comparison
    the act of examining resemblances
  3. noun
    a conceptual separation or distinction
    synonyms: demarcation, dividing line, line
    see moresee less
    Rubicon, point of no return
    a line that when crossed permits of no return and typically results in irrevocable commitment
    type of:
    differentiation, distinction
    a discrimination between things as different and distinct
  4. noun
    the perceptual effect of the juxtaposition of very different colors
    see moresee less
    type of:
    beholding, seeing, visual perception
    perception by means of the eyes
  5. noun
    the range of optical density and tone on a photographic negative or print (or the extent to which adjacent areas on a television screen differ in brightness)
    see moresee less
    type of:
    ambit, compass, orbit, range, reach, scope
    an area in which something acts or operates or has power or control: "the range of a supersonic jet"
Definitions of contrast
  1. verb
    put in opposition to show or emphasize differences
    “The middle school teacher contrasted her best student's work with that of her weakest student”
  2. verb
    show differences when compared; be different
    “the students contrast considerably in their artistic abilities”
    synonyms: counterpoint
    see moresee less
    show 5 types...
    hide 5 types...
    counterbalance, oppose
    contrast with equal weight or force
    be in conflict
    enhance by contrast
    counterpoise, counterpose, counterweight
    constitute a counterweight or counterbalance to
    clash, collide, jar
    be incompatible; be or come into conflict
    type of:
    be different
Cite this entry
  • MLA
  • APA
  • Chicago

A paragraph of text

Copy citation
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘contrast'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
Word Family

Look up contrast for the last time

Close your vocabulary gaps with personalized learning that focuses on teaching the words you need to know.

VocabTrainer -'s Vocabulary Trainer