The dictionary says is 'set off' or 'serve as a foil'.

But what I mean is the 写作手法 '衬托', is there such word in English?

Thank you!

2 Answers 2


衬= to match; to complement

托= to lift; to support

衬托:(v) to complement and enhance ;(n) a complemental contrast


set off

show up by contrast


'foil' is very thin sheets of something, like aluminium foil used in the kitchen.

"The sense of "one who enhances another by contrast" (1580s) is from the practice of backing a gem with metal foil to make it shine more brilliantly."

So 'a foil' as a backdrop makes something appear better.

An ugly woman serves as a foil to a pretty girl.

In literature, a foil is a character who contrasts and accentuates another.

As a way of writing it just means separate some text from the main body of the text by some means such as more indent, italics, put in a text box or frame, bullets or numbering, different font or font colour or highlighting in order to make it stand out.

You should set this clause/paragraph off from the rest of the text.

A related word is feuilleton: 文艺​专栏, 小品​文章

(originally) part of a French newspaper devoted to light literature and criticism (usually at the bottom of a page and separated by a rule), 1845, from French feuilleton (18c.), literally "a leaflet (added to a newspaper)," diminutive of feuille "leaf," from Latin folium.

I also found: 衬映: set off by contrast.

  • Foil had this meaning because jewelers would put a small shiny foil backing on clear gem stones (not aluminum foil but special foil for the purpose). Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 0:57
  • Colin, I think you'll find that in 1580, when this sense of foil evolved, nobody had ever even heard of aluminium!
    – Gangosa
    Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 1:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.