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silhouette

[sil-oo-et] /ˌsɪl uˈɛt/
noun
1.
a two-dimensional representation of the outline of an object, as a cutout or configurational drawing, uniformly filled in with black, especially a black-paper, miniature cutout of the outlines of a famous person's face.
2.
the outline or general shape of something:
the slim silhouette of a skyscraper.
3.
a dark image outlined against a lighter background.
verb (used with object), silhouetted, silhouetting.
4.
to show in or as if in a silhouette.
5.
Printing. to remove the background details from (a halftone cut) so as to produce an outline effect.
Origin
1790-1800
1790-1800; < French à la silhouette, after Etienne de Silhouette (1709-67), French finance minister
Related forms
unsilhouetted, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for silhouetted
  • Arrange multiple silhouetted pumpkins along the center of an outdoor table.
  • silhouetted dancers move through a series of stretching combinations.
  • The prettiest shot shows two aerialists silhouetted against the final moments of a glorious sunset.
  • silhouetted against an out-of-focus window, a shadowy profile embodies introspection.
  • Sometimes it is the whaler under full sail silhouetted on the sun-silvered, choppy sea.
  • The pair grew especially energized each time one spotted a dive-bombing bat silhouetted against the sky.
  • His transformation took place behind a screen through which his silhouetted figure could be seen being groomed and coiffed.
  • They are amusing and allow the performers to be silhouetted as figures in a drawing.
  • Her figures are silhouetted against dark gouache renderings that seem backlighted by the sun or the moon.
  • Resting on a sofa, you may catch a glimpse of a silhouetted figure wandering up the staircase several levels above.
British Dictionary definitions for silhouetted

silhouette

/ˌsɪluːˈɛt/
noun
1.
the outline of a solid figure as cast by its shadow
2.
an outline drawing filled in with black, often a profile portrait cut out of black paper and mounted on a light ground
verb
3.
(transitive) to cause to appear in silhouette
Word Origin
C18: named after Étienne de Silhouette (1709–67), French politician, perhaps referring to silhouettes as partial portraits, with a satirical allusion to Silhouette's brief career as controller general (1759)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for silhouetted

silhouette

n.

1798, from French silhouette, in reference to Étienne de Silhouette (1709-1767), French minister of finance in 1759. Usually said to be so called because it was an inexpensive way of making a likeness of someone, a derisive reference to Silhouette's petty economies to finance the Seven Years' War, which were unpopular among the nobility. But other theories are that it refers to his brief tenure in office, or the story that he decorated his chateau with such portraits.

Silhouette portraits were so called simply because they came into fashion in the year (1759) in which M. de Silhouette was minister. [A. Brachet, "An Etymological Dictionary of the French Language," transl. G.W. Kitchin, 1882]
Used of any sort of dark outline or shadow in profile from 1843. The verb is recorded from 1876, from the noun. The family name is a Frenchified form of a Basque surname; Arnaud de Silhouette, the finance minister's father, was from Biarritz in the French Basque country; the southern Basque form of the name would be Zuloeta or Zulueta, which contains the suffix -eta "abundance of" and zulo "hole" (possibly here meaning "cave").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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