February 24, 2012
silhouette (noun)
\sil-uh-WET\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 a : a picture (as a drawing or cutout) of the outline of an object filled in with a solid usually black color b : a profile portrait done in silhouette2 : the outline of an object seen or as if seen against the light
How do you use it?
Lizzie stared at the silhouette of her great grandmother and as she studied the outlines of her face, she wondered what life must have been like for her.
Are you a word wiz?

Where do you think the word "silhouette" comes from?

If you picked answer A, trés bien. Etienne de Silhouette served as the French controller general of finances in 1759. No one is sure why his name became associated with solid black portraits. One theory is that because he was very stingy, rumors circulated that he was so cheap that he decorated his walls with cutout outline drawings instead of paintings. Another theory states that because he held his position for such a short time, it was as if he wasn't really there, or didn't leave a lasting impression. For whichever reason, people began using his last name for any outline or profile drawing.
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