1. A line indicating the outer contours or boundaries of an object or figure: could see the outlines of an animal in the dark.
a. A style of drawing in which objects are delineated in contours without shading.
b. A sketch done in this style.
a. A summary of a text or subject, usually presented in headings and subheadings.
b. A preliminary draft or plan, as of a project or proposal.
tr.v. out·lined, out·lin·ing, out·lines
1. To draw or trace an outline of.
2. To display or accentuate the outline of: His face was outlined on the lampshade.
3. To give the main features or various aspects of; summarize: outlined the major provisions of the tax bill.
Synonyms: outline, contour, profile, silhouette
These nouns refer to a line that defines the boundary and shape of an object, mass, or figure: the outline of the mountains against the sunset; saw the island's contour from the airplane; a monarch's profile on an ancient coin; saw the dark silhouette of the family waving farewell.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.