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 considerationb : a subordinate or accessory (see 2accessory 2) fact or detail cost is a minor circumstance in this casec : 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. Trevelyanb : state of affairs : eventuality open rebellion was a rare circumstance —often used in plural a victim of circumstancesc 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
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 of circumstance from the Web
Reynolds said there are circumstances when an officer is in the process of identifying someone and the person flees.
Namely that, barring an unforeseen change of circumstance, the city is going to throw its ultimate support to one of two proposals to renovate KeyArena rather than Hansen’s plan to build a new facility in Sodo.
A 75-seat majority is actually a pretty comfortable win under normal circumstances.
Under different circumstances, someone like Dubke could have been an asset to a dysfunctional and disorganized White House.
Although circumstances surrounding the crash are still under investigation, speed is believed to be a factor.
When the band’s bassist, Oakley, died one year after Duane Allman and in nearly identical circumstances, the band regrouped once again.
However, Libertyville Village Administrator Chris Clark said the circumstances are much different for his team.
The circumstances of her characters are vastly unlike Fitzgerald’s, and those differences are what make this novel so moving.
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.
Synonym Discussion of circumstance
CIRCUMSTANCE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of circumstance for English Language Learners
: a condition or fact that affects a situation
circumstances : the way something happens : the specific details of an event
: an event or situation that you cannot control
CIRCUMSTANCE Defined for Kids
Definition of circumstance for Students
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
Legal Definition of circumstance
1a : a condition, fact, or event accompanying, conditioning, or determining another must state with particularity the circumstances constituting fraud or mistake — Federal 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 statement — State v. Lopez, 764 P.2d 1111 (1988)
2 pl : situation with regard to wealth the circumstances of the parties before the divorce
Learn More about circumstance
See words that rhyme with circumstance Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for circumstance Spanish Central: Translation of circumstance Nglish: Translation of circumstance for Spanish speakers Britannica English: Translation of circumstance for Arabic speakers Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about circumstance
Seen and Heard
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