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 plurala 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Similarly, companies and other organizations are at liberty to make their own decisions according to their specific circumstances and their assessment of the risk to business. David Meyer, Fortune, "Coronavirus fears spread to European conferences," 7 Feb. 2020 The senator would certainly encourage his brother to pay the judgment if his personal financial circumstances made that at all possible. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "Biden’s brother Frank dodged paying $1M to daughters orphaned in crash," 6 Feb. 2020 Rowin's perseverance, hope and joy despite his circumstances were a theme among each of the speakers at his service on Saturday at Generation Church. Chelsea Curtis, azcentral, "'Soar high, buddy, soar high': 'Avondale Quad' Brandon Rowin remembered at celebration of life service in Mesa," 1 Feb. 2020 No matter what your circumstances, there's a service out there that caters to your needs. Louryn Strampe, Wired, "The Best Meal Kit Delivery Services for Every Kind of Cook," 1 Feb. 2020 The Art of Elysium, which empowers artists and Los Angeles communities in need to emotionally triumph over their circumstances through art, for the 13th iteration of its annual Heaven fundraiser in January, titled Heaven Is Rock and Roll. Steve Baltin, Billboard, "Linda Perry and Kerry Brown Become Go-To Partners When Charity Bashes Need 'Wow'-Worthy Performers," 31 Jan. 2020 While some are released back into the wild, many become permanent residents due to their circumstances. You, refinery29.com, "I’m 31 & This Is How Much I Spent On My Solo Trip On A Cruise Through Alaska," 30 Jan. 2020 So yes, depending on your circumstances and preferences, retiring to a larger home and lower costs may be entirely possible. Peter G. Miller, Dallas News, "When retiring, is it time to buy a big home?," 18 Jan. 2020 The crash reverberated far beyond Vero Beach, even as investigators sought to understand its circumstances. Andrew Ryan, BostonGlobe.com, "Holy Cross rower killed, a dozen injured in Florida crash," 15 Jan. 2020

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.

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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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Statistics for circumstance

Last Updated

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Circumstance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/circumstances. Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for circumstance

circumstance

noun
How to pronounce circumstance (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of circumstance

: a condition or fact that affects a situation
: the way something happens : the specific details of an event
: an event or situation that you cannot control

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

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Comments on circumstance

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