be a foil to (someone)

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be a foil to (someone)

To contrast with someone else and thus highlight their unique qualities. Of course Edgar Linton ends up marrying Catherine—he's totally a foil to Heathcliff throughout the whole novel. With her humor and upbeat demeanor, I found my sister to be a foil to dour Seth.
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Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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