9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[out-lahyn] /ˈaʊtˌlaɪn/
the line by which a figure or object is defined or bounded; contour.
a drawing or sketch restricted to line without shading or modeling of form.
a general sketch, account, or report, indicating only the main features, as of a book, subject, or project:
an outline of medieval history; an outline of a speech.
outlines, the essential features or main aspects of something under discussion:
At the first meeting, we gave her only the outlines of the project.
Printing. an ornamented type in which the outside contours of each character appear in black, with the inside left white.
verb (used with object), outlined, outlining.
to draw the outline of, or draw in outline, as a figure or object.
to give an outline of; sketch the main features of:
On the first day, the professor just outlined the course for us.
Origin of outline
1655-65; out- + line1
Related forms
preoutline, noun, verb (used with object), preoutlined, preoutlining.
reoutline, verb (used with object), reoutlined, reoutlining.
well-outlined, adjective
1. See form. 3. plan, draft, rough, synopsis, summary. 6, 7. delineate, draft. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for outlining
  • Each student will then write a paper outlining the features that are necessary for such a business to succeed.
  • They can write brochures outlining the school's or community's disaster plan.
  • Several painters would work on a scene at the same time, outlining a design.
  • He folded back the scalp and made small holes in her skull with a power drill, outlining a rough semicircle.
  • She drew his face, outlining his head and the thick fringe of hair.
  • If anything, outlining the actual controversies will help to show how farcical the manufactured ones are.
  • The article was about why landing is not as simple as people think, and outlining the challenges of why that is so.
  • The concluding paragraphs could go a bit further in outlining solutions to the structural problems in academic science.
  • Applications should include letters outlining qualifications and accomplishments, and curriculum vitae.
  • Write a sabbatical proposal outlining the research projects you plan to pursue on your trip.
British Dictionary definitions for outlining


a preliminary or schematic plan, draft, account, etc
(usually pl) the important features of an argument, theory, work, etc
the line by which an object or figure is or appears to be bounded
  1. a drawing or manner of drawing consisting only of external lines
  2. (as modifier): an outline map
verb (transitive)
to draw or display the outline of
to give the main features or general idea of
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for outlining



1660s, "lines by which a figure is delineated," from out + line (v.). Meaning "rough draft in words" is from 1759.


1790, "to draw in outline," from outline (n.). Meaning "to describe in general terms" is from 1855. Related: Outlined; outlining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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