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CONTRAST, verb transitive

1. To set in opposition two or more figures of a like kind, with a view to show the difference or dissimilitude, and to manifest the superior excellence of the one by the inferiority of the other, or to exhibit the excellence of the one and the defects of the other in a more striking view; as, to contrast two picture or statues.

2. To exhibit differences or dissimilitude in painting and sculpture, by position or attitude, either of the whole figure or of its members; or to show to advantage by opposition or difference of position.

3. To set in opposition different things or qualities, to show the superior excellence of one to advantage.

To contrast the goodness of God with our rebellion, will tend to make us humble and thankful.


1. Opposition or dissimilitude of figures, by which one contributes to the visibility or effect of the other. contrast in this sense, is applicable to things of a similar kind. We never speak of a contrast between a man and a mountain, or between a dog and a tree; but we observe the contrast between an oak and a shrub, and between a palace and a cottage.

2. Opposition, or difference of position, attitude, etc., of figures, or of their several members; as in painting and sculpture.

3. Opposition of things or qualities; or the placing of opposite things in view, to exhibit the superior excellence of one to more advantage. What a contrast between modesty and impudence, or between a well-bred man and a clown!