(French: an outline portrait or an illustration of one color)
2. The outline or general shape of something: Hank and William could see the slim silhouette of a skyscraper through the fog.
3. A dark image outlined against a lighter background: By placing a shape between the source of light, a candle for example, and a piece of white paper, Jennifer could create a silhouette on the paper, trace it, cut it out, and glue it on a cardboard for exhibition.
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Borrowing of French silhouette, formed as an indirect reference to Étienne de Silhouette
A 1798 borrowing of French silhouette, formed in allusion (indirect reference) to Étienne de Silhouette, 1709-1767, French minister of finance in 1759. The name (because it was an inexpensive way of making a likeness of someone, rather than paying for an artist's portrait) was probably intended to ridicule the petty economies introduced by Silhouette in 1759 to finance the Seven Years' War.
Another explanation involves a reference to Silhouette's brief (eight month) tenure in office, or to the amateurish outline portraits made by him to decorate the walls of his château at Bry-sur-Marne.
2. Creating outlines of solid objects; such as, those cast by their shadows.
3. Making projections on a background; such as, on a screen showing images in black.