- the line by which a figure or object is defined or bounded; contour.
- a drawing or sketch restricted to line without shading or modeling of form.
- a general sketch, account, or report, indicating only the main features, as of a book, subject, or project: an outline of medieval history; an outline of a speech.
- outlines, the essential features or main aspects of something under discussion: At the first meeting, we gave her only the outlines of the project.
- Printing. an ornamented type in which the outside contours of each character appear in black, with the inside left white.
verb (used with object), out·lined, out·lin·ing.
- to draw the outline of, or draw in outline, as a figure or object.
- to give an outline of; sketch the main features of: On the first day, the professor just outlined the course for us.
- a preliminary or schematic plan, draft, account, etc
- (usually plural) the important features of an argument, theory, work, etc
- the line by which an object or figure is or appears to be bounded
- a drawing or manner of drawing consisting only of external lines
- (as modifier)an outline map
- to draw or display the outline of
- to give the main features or general idea of
v.1790, “to draw in outline,” from outline (n.). Meaning “to describe in general terms” is from 1855. Related: Outlined; outlining. n.1660s, “lines by which a figure is delineated,” from out + line (v.). Meaning “rough draft in words” is from 1759.