contour |ˈkɒntʊə|noun1 (usu. contours) an outline representing or bounding the shape or form of something: she traced the contours of his face with her finger | figurative :challenges that have shaped the contours of European integration.• an outline of a natural feature such as a hill: the road climbs steadily,following the contours of the hillside.• short for contour line. below the 1200-ft contour is a belt of limestone.• a line joining points on a diagram at which some property has the same value. the figure shows contours of 21-cm line emission of atomic hydrogen.2 a way in which something varies, especially the pitch of music or thepattern of tones in an utterance.verb [ with obj. ]1 mould into a specific shape, especially one designed to fit into something else: the compartment has been contoured with smooth rounded corners | (asadj.contoured) : the contoured leather seats.2 mark (a map or diagram) with contour lines: (as adj.contoured) : a hugecontoured map.3 (of a road or railway) follow the outline of (a topographical feature),especially along a contour line: the road contours the hillside.ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from French, from Italian contorno, fromcontornare ‘draw in outline’, from con- ‘together’+ tornare ‘to turn’.