symmetry


symmetry
symmetry, proportion, balance, harmony are comparable chiefly as used in the arts of design and decoration to mean a quality which gives aesthetic pleasure and which depends upon the proper relating of details and parts to each other (as in magnitude, or arrangement) and to the consequent effect produced by the whole.
Symmetry implies a median line or an axis on either side of which the details correspond (as in size, form, and placing). Often it implies such mathematical precision especially in arrangement of elements or parts as is observable in the corresponding halves of a perfect crystal, in a geometrically regular star, or in the conventionalized leaf or flower of decorative design
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symmetry is the keynote of most formal gardens

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the symmetry of a Greek temple

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abandoned the decent gown for a short coat or jacket and displayed the symmetry of their legs— Trevelyan

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but, in its stress of mechanical precision, symmetry may sometimes suggest an arid sterile quality, lacking in true artistic expression
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symmetry is a condition of perfect but inert balance; it will be entirely useless in a composition— Taubes

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Proportion implies a grace or beauty, independent of a thing's actual magnitude, duration, or intensity, that stems from the measured fitness of every one of its details and the consequent perfection of the whole
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we care for size, but inartistically; we care nothing for proportion, which is what makes size count— Brownell

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an impressive structure of Greek design, notable for its beauty of proportion and simplicity of detail— Amer. Guide Series: Minn.

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Balance is sometimes employed as an equivalent of symmetry, but it can be used distinctively to imply equality of values rather than repetition of details or parts and a massing of different things (as light and shade, sharply contrasted colors, or figures and background) so that each one tends to offset the other or to reduce the other's emphasis without loss of significance on either side. Balance implies as its aesthetic object an inducing of a pleasant satisfaction in the thing's quiet beauty or of a delight in the unified yet varied effect of the whole
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it is a similar principle of unsymmetrical balance which the Taoist artists sought in design. Space therefore, empty space, becomes a positive factor, no longer something not filled and left over, but something exerting an attractive power to the eye, and balancing the attractive power of forms and masses— Binyon

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every good statue is marked by a certain air of repose; every fine picture exists in a state of stable equilibrium brought about by the balance of its masses— Krutch

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balance is a subtler quality than symmetry. Symmetry means repetition .... Balance, which is a free, almost irregular extension of the concept of symmetry, implies, unlike symmetry, the element of risk— Charles Johnson

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Harmony, when used specifically in reference to the arts of design and decoration, retains as its leading implication the same idea as is involved in its general sense (see HARMONY 1), that of beauty resulting from a perfect interrelation of details and their fusion into an agreeable whole. However it often denotes specifically the aesthetic impression produced by something which manifests symmetry, proportion, or balance, or these qualities in combination
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a coloring harmony obtained by the aid of a long experience in the effects of light on translucent surfaces— Henry Adams

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we hear harmonious tones; but . . . the pleasure they give us . . . [is] the pleasure of their relational form which makes us attribute to them and their physical combination a quality which we call harmonyAlexander

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choosing with care and with a good eye for harmony the shoes, socks, shirt, and necktie he would wear— Wolfe

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New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Symmetry — Sym me*try, n. [L. symmetria, Gr. ?; sy n with, together + ? a measure: cf. F. sym[ e]trie. See {Syn }, and {Meter} rhythm.] 1. A due proportion of the several parts of a body to each other; adaptation of the form or dimensions of the several… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • symmetry — [sim′ə trē] n. pl. symmetries [< MFr or L: MFr symmetrie (now symétrie) < L symmetria < Gr < symmetros, measured together < syn , together + metron, a MEASURE] 1. similarity of form or arrangement on either side of a dividing line… …   English World dictionary

  • symmetry — index analogy, arrangement (ordering), balance (equality), constant, correspondence (similarity) …   Law dictionary

  • symmetry — 1560s, relation of parts, proportion, from L. symmetria, from Gk. symmetria agreement in dimensions, due proportion, arrangement, from symmetros having a common measure, even, proportionate, from syn together + metron meter (see METER (Cf. meter) …   Etymology dictionary

  • symmetry — [n] proportion agreement, arrangement, balance, centrality, conformity, correspondence, equality, equilibrium, equipoise, equivalence, evenness, finish, form, harmony, order, proportionality, regularity, rhythm, shapeliness, similarity; concepts… …   New thesaurus

  • symmetry — ► NOUN (pl. symmetries) 1) the quality of being made up of exactly similar parts facing each other or around an axis. 2) correct or pleasing proportion of parts. 3) similarity or exact correspondence. ORIGIN Latin symmetria, from Greek sun with + …   English terms dictionary

  • Symmetry — For other uses, see Symmetry (disambiguation) …   Wikipedia

  • symmetry — /sim i tree/, n., pl. symmetries. 1. the correspondence in size, form, and arrangement of parts on opposite sides of a plane, line, or point; regularity of form or arrangement in terms of like, reciprocal, or corresponding parts. 2. the proper or …   Universalium

  • Symmetry — (Roget s Thesaurus) >Regularity of form. < N PARAG:Symmetry >N GRP: N 1 Sgm: N 1 symmetry symmetry shapeliness finish Sgm: N 1 beauty beauty &c. 845 Sgm: N 1 proportion proportion eurythmy uniformity parallelism …   English dictionary for students

  • symmetry — [[t]sɪ̱mɪtri[/t]] symmetries 1) N VAR Something that has symmetry is symmetrical in shape, design, or structure. ...the incredible beauty and symmetry of a snowflake... I loved the house because it had perfect symmetry... Their own lives already… …   English dictionary


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