Definition of “contrast” - English Dictionary

“contrast” in British English

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contrastnoun [ C or U ]

uk /ˈkɒn.trɑːst/ us /ˈkɑːn.træst/

B2 an obvious difference between two or more things:

I like the contrast of the white trousers with the black jacket.
The antique furnishing provides an unusual contrast to the modernity of the building.
There's a marked contrast between his character and hers.
Their economy has expanded, while ours, by/in contrast, has declined.
The amount spent on defence is in stark/sharp (= in very noticeable) contrast to that spent on housing and health.
I love his use of contrast (= strong differences between light and darkness) in his later photographs.

More examples

  • There's a striking contrast between what he does and what he says he does.
  • The mountains stood in sharp contrast to the blue sky.
  • The president spoke with passion for an hour, in marked contrast to his subdued address to the parliament yesterday.
  • I love the contrast between the sharpness of the lemon and the sweetness of the honey.
  • Did you see the photos of her before and after her makeover? What a contrast!

contrastverb

uk /kənˈtrɑːst/ us /kənˈtræst/

C2 [ T ] to compare two people or things in order to show the differences between them:

If you contrast some of her early writing with her later work, you can see just how much she improved.

C2 [ I ] If one thing contrasts with another, it is very different from it:

The styles of the two film makers contrast quite dramatically.
The tartness of the lemons contrasts with the sweetness of the honey.

More examples

  • Her later sensual works contrast starkly with the harsh earlier paintings.
  • The president's passionate speech contrasted strongly with his subdued address to the parliament yesterday.
  • What he said contrasted strikingly with what he actually did.
  • The designer chose bright curtains and cushions that contrast with the subdued wallpaper.
  • The sharpness of the lemon contrasts deliciously with the sweetness of the sugar.

(Definition of “contrast” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“contrast” in American English

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contrastnoun [ C/U ]

us /ˈkɑn·træst/

an easily noticed or understood difference between two or more things:

[ U ] She is quite petite, in contrast with her tall sister.
[ C ] Contrasts between Manhattan’s rich and poor astonished him.

art In art and photographs, contrast is the difference between dark and light colors or dark and light areas.

contrastverb [ I/T ]

us /kənˈtræst/

to compare someone or something with another or others, or to show the differences between two or more things:

[ T ] She contrasted Hamilton’s Federalist ideas with the Anti-Federalist views of Thomas Jefferson.
[ I ] His aggressive style contrasts sharply with that of his low-key predecessor.

(Definition of “contrast” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)