cir·​cum·​stan·​tial | \ ˌsər-kəm-ˈstan(t)-shəl How to pronounce circumstantial (audio) \

Definition of circumstantial

1 : belonging to, consisting in, or dependent on circumstances a circumstantial case circumstantial factors circumstantial evidence
2 : pertinent but not essential : incidental Revolutions usually happen for both structural and circumstantial reasons.— A. M. S. Aly
3 : marked by careful attention to detail : abounding in factual details a circumstantial account of the fight
4 : ceremonial the circumstantial splendor of the coronation

Other Words from circumstantial

circumstantiality \ ˌsər-​kəm-​ˌstan(t)-​shē-​ˈa-​lə-​tē How to pronounce circumstantial (audio) \ noun
circumstantially \ ˌsər-​kəm-​ˈstan(t)-​sh(ə-​)lē How to pronounce circumstantial (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for circumstantial

circumstantial, minute, particular, detailed mean dealing with a matter fully and usually point by point. circumstantial implies fullness of detail that fixes something described in time and space. a circumstantial account of our visit minute implies close and searching attention to the smallest details. a minute examination of a fossil particular implies a precise attention to every detail. a particular description of the scene of the crime detailed stresses abundance or completeness of detail. a detailed analysis of the event

Examples of circumstantial in a Sentence

The evidence is purely circumstantial. The case against him is circumstantial. a circumstantial account of the meeting
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Recent Examples on the Web Chemirmir’s attorney says the evidence against Chemirmir is circumstantial. Jamie Stengle, ajc, 17 Nov. 2021 The evidence is circumstantial, but the virus has been linked to the same problem in humans and the connection is worth exploring, experts said. New York Times, 15 Nov. 2021 The case against him in New York is circumstantial. New York Times, 1 Nov. 2021 Prater has the chance to surpass Baltimore Ravens' Justin Tucker for the league's longest FG in history record at 66 yards, but Rodgers said that attempt from Prater would be circumstantial. Dana Scott, The Arizona Republic, 20 Oct. 2021 Nothing like this circumstantial equity ever occurred with women’s soccer, basketball or golf. Andrew Zimbalist, Forbes, 9 Sep. 2021 And circumstantial context does not even make the album a painful listen. Natalie Maher, Harper's BAZAAR, 8 Sep. 2021 All that evidence was only circumstantial, Lacy argued. Dallas News, 4 Aug. 2021 Meanwhile, circumstantial relationships – which are the products of a shared reality, like fellow parents in the homeroom or the barista who remembers how to spell your name – have sharply diminished. Kristi Faulkner, Forbes, 21 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'circumstantial.' 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 circumstantial

1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for circumstantial

see circumstance

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Time Traveler for circumstantial

Time Traveler

The first known use of circumstantial was in 1600

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Statistics for circumstantial

Last Updated

20 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Circumstantial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for circumstantial



English Language Learners Definition of circumstantial

: based on information which suggests that something is true but does not prove that it is true
: providing or including the details of a particular situation or event


cir·​cum·​stan·​tial | \ ˌsər-kəm-ˈstan-chəl How to pronounce circumstantial (audio) \

Legal Definition of circumstantial

: belonging to, consisting in, or dependent on circumstances

Other Words from circumstantial

circumstantially adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on circumstantial

Nglish: Translation of circumstantial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of circumstantial for Arabic Speakers


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