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.
the outline or general shape of something:
the slim silhouette of a skyscraper.
a dark image outlined against a lighter background.
verb (used with object), silhouetted, silhouetting.
to show in or as if in a silhouette.
Printing. to remove the background details from (a halftone cut) so as to produce an outline effect.
the outline of a solid figure as cast by its shadow
an outline drawing filled in with black, often a profile portrait cut out of black paper and mounted on a light ground
(transitive) to cause to appear in silhouette
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)
1798, from Fr. silhouette, in allusion to Étienne de Silhouette (1709-67), Fr. 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. The verb is recorded from 1876. 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").