circumstance

noun
cir·​cum·​stance | \ ˈsər-kəm-ˌstan(t)s How to pronounce circumstance (audio) , -stən(t)s \

Definition of circumstance

1a : a condition, fact, or event accompanying, conditioning, or determining another : an essential or inevitable concomitant the weather is a circumstance to be taken into consideration
b : a subordinate or accessory (see accessory entry 2 sense 2) fact or detail cost is a minor circumstance in this case
c : a piece of evidence that indicates the probability or improbability of an event (such as a crime) the circumstance of the missing weapon told against him the circumstances suggest murder
2a : the sum of essential and environmental factors (as of an event or situation) constant and rapid change in economic circumstance— G. M. Trevelyan
b : state of affairs : eventuality open rebellion was a rare circumstance often used in plural a victim of circumstances
c circumstances plural : situation with regard to wealth he was in easy circumstances rose from difficult circumstances
3 : attendant formalities and ritualistic display especially as contrasted with essential procedure pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war— William Shakespeare
4 : an event that constitutes a detail (as of a narrative or course of events) considering each circumstance in turn

Synonyms for circumstance

Synonyms

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Choose the Right Synonym for circumstance

occurrence, event, incident, episode, circumstance mean something that happens or takes place. occurrence may apply to a happening without intent, volition, or plan. an encounter that was a chance occurrence event usually implies an occurrence of some importance and frequently one having antecedent cause. the events following the assassination incident suggests an occurrence of brief duration or secondary importance. a minor wartime incident episode stresses the distinctiveness or apartness of an incident. a brief romantic episode in a life devoted to work circumstance implies a specific detail attending an action or event as part of its setting or background. couldn't recall the exact circumstances

Examples of circumstance in a Sentence

I can't imagine a circumstance in which I would do that. The circumstances of his death are suspicious. She says that her client is a victim of circumstance and should not be blamed for the accident. He was a victim of circumstances.
Recent Examples on the Web Under the circumstance, remember that Gene has no relationship to other people, no loving ability. Wilson Chapman, Variety, 24 Apr. 2022 Murray might not report to the Cardinals under any circumstance without a new deal. Bob Mcmanaman, The Arizona Republic, 19 Apr. 2022 There are exceptions to the rule based on circumstance. Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, 1 Apr. 2022 Depending on the circumstance of the individual, the fund gives out anywhere between $800 to more than $2,000 per person. Neelam Bohra, San Antonio Express-News, 5 Dec. 2021 Every circumstance and outcome can be turned into a gift and opportunity. Rolling Stone Culture Council, Rolling Stone, 21 Apr. 2022 But on the other hand, this circumstance made these women dependent on men and their approval. Katie Hafner, Scientific American, 21 Apr. 2022 Under District Attorney George Gascón, the office did not seek a special circumstance allegation that the killing was committed in the act of a burglary, which could have led to a possible sentence of life without parole. Brian Melley, USA TODAY, 20 Apr. 2022 Instead, as the hail triggered a 49-minute weather delay, Baumann’s outing ended after two batters and nine pitches, forcing Hyde’s hand for a second time this season because of an unforeseen circumstance. Andy Kostka, Baltimore Sun, 16 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'circumstance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of circumstance

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for circumstance

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin circumstantia, from circumstant-, circumstans, present participle of circumstare to stand around, from circum- + stare to stand — more at stand

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Time Traveler for circumstance

Time Traveler

The first known use of circumstance was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near circumstance

circumspectness

circumstance

circumstanced

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Statistics for circumstance

Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Circumstance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/circumstance. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for circumstance

circumstance

noun
cir·​cum·​stance | \ ˈsər-kəm-ˌstans How to pronounce circumstance (audio) \

Kids Definition of circumstance

1 : a fact or event that affects a situation Illness is the only circumstance that will excuse your absence.
2 circumstances plural : conditions at a certain time or place Under the circumstances, I think we did well.
3 circumstances plural : the way something happens Please explain the circumstances of the accident.
4 circumstances plural : the conditions in which someone lives "When the Lord puts us in certain circumstances He doesn't mean for us to imagine them away."— Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
5 : an uncontrollable event or situation a victim of circumstance

circumstance

noun
cir·​cum·​stance

Legal Definition of circumstance

1a : a condition, fact, or event accompanying, conditioning, or determining another must state with particularity the circumstances constituting fraud or mistakeFederal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 9(b)
b : a piece of evidence that indicates the probability or improbability of an event a statement…offered to exculpate the accused is not admissible unless corroborating circumstances clearly indicate the trustworthiness of the statementState v. Lopez, 764 P.2d 1111 (1988)
2 plural : situation with regard to wealth the circumstances of the parties before the divorce

More from Merriam-Webster on circumstance

Nglish: Translation of circumstance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of circumstance for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about circumstance

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