Word Geek Wednesday: Silhouette

This year I'm gonna start a new post series I've been meaning to make for a long while: a "word of the day" post with examples taken from the length and breadth of pop culture! I inaugurate this post series with a word near and dear to my heart:

sil·hou·ette /ˌsiləˈwet/ n. the dark shape and outline of someone or something visible against a lighter background, especially in dim light.

This was the word that got me a gold medal in my grade school spelling bee, and thus I never forgot how it was spelled. It's short, sexy, and rolls off the tongue smooth as silk.

Silhouettes make for cool visuals and have been a major part of visual media. Ancient China used silhouettes to great effect in shadow puppet plays, while movies are filled with iconic silhouettes from Hitchcock to Spielberg. Speaking of which, Steven Spielberg's E.T: The Extraterrestrial featured a silhouette so memorable it's now immortalized in the logo of his production company Amblin Entertainment!

Whether it's hiding a new character in shadow or upping the tension of a scene, comic books also love their silhouettes. Take Batman for instance, who loves to stay in the shadows so much he's the star of two of the most iconic silhouettes in the business!

Drawing a scene in silhouette is also a neat trick to get past the censors, from implying love scenes between two characters or tastefully hiding violently graphic scenes in stark black colors.

Marvel Comics also has its share of silhouettes, including an actual character named Silhouette! Like her namesake, she uses the darkness to do many cool things. Even without the use of her legs (she's one of the few paraplegics in comics), she is a force to be reckoned with!

She isn't the first comic book character named "Silhouette", though, as Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' seminal opus Watchmen also had a character codenamed Silhouette, who only appeared in flashbacks as a member of the Minutemen.

Find a way to use the word "silhouette" in conversation today! Did I miss any other pop culture silhouettes? Let me know in the comments!

Post a Comment