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outline Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun the line that appears to bound an object
  2. noun a sketchy summary of the main points of an argument or theory
    precis; synopsis; abstract.
  3. noun a schematic or preliminary plan
    scheme; schema.
  4. verb describe roughly or briefly or give the main points or summary of
    sketch; adumbrate.
    • sketch the outline of the book
    • outline his ideas
  5. verb draw up an outline or sketch for something
    • draft a speech
  6. verb trace the shape of
    delineate; limn.

Out"line` noun
  1. (a) The line which marks the outer limits of an object or figure; the exterior line or edge; contour. (b) In art: A line drawn by pencil, pen, graver, or the like, by which the boundary of a figure is indicated. (c) A sketch composed of such lines; the delineation of a figure without shading.
    Painters, by their outlines, colors, lights, and shadows, represent the same in their pictures. Dryden.
  2. Fig.: A sketch of any scheme; a preliminary or general indication of a plan, system, course of thought, etc.; as, the outline of a speech.
    But that larger grief . . . Is given in outline and no more. Tennyson.
    Syn. -- Sketch; draught; delineation. See Sketch.
Out"line` transitive verb
imperfect & past participle Outlined ; present participle & verbal noun Outlining
  1. To draw the outline of.
  2. Fig.: To sketch out or indicate as by an outline; as, to outline an argument or a campaign.

Webster 1913