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

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Other Words from circumstantial

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

Cataldo noted that much of the evidence in the case was circumstantial and relied on the testimony of three forensic pathologists who declared Hrisco’s death a homicide. George Houde,, "Barrington man found guilty in 2000 drowning of wife in bathtub over disagreements about home construction problems," 23 Aug. 2019 But Revill's lawyer contended that the evidence was circumstantial and that prosecutors had not proved their case, the station reported. Tom Steele, Dallas News, "Fort Worth man convicted of kidnapping ex-girlfriend who vanished in 2016," 22 Aug. 2019 One study of the deadliest 31 mass shootings since 1966 found that 87% of mass shooters expressed an explicit or circumstantial desire for fame and attention. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Mass shooters seek notoriety, and we, the media, provide it. Is there another way?," 12 Aug. 2019 This is hanging in the balance because all of this evidence, this isn't just circumstantial anymore. Fox News, "Rudy Giuliani reacts to Paul Manafort's plea deal," 14 Sep. 2018 There are circumstantial reasons for the teacher to be concerned about Luce despite his good grades (most notably that a bag of fireworks was found in his gym locker). David Sims, The Atlantic, "A Flawed Thriller About the Myth of the ‘Model Immigrant’," 5 Aug. 2019 The case against Amato, Dowdy claimed, is purely circumstantial. Michael Williams,, "Grant Amato trial: Jury deliberating in trial of man accused of killing family over relationship with webcam model," 31 July 2019 Both circumstantial and physical evidence led to his arrest after her body was found in the trunk of her car outside a vacant home last week. CBS News, "Grim details emerge about man accused of killing Baton Rouge civil rights activist," 17 July 2019 The purely circumstantial nature of Dr. Gott’s prediction unsettles many who hear of it. William Poundstone, WSJ, "‘Doomsday’ Math Says Humanity May Have Just 760 Years Left," 27 June 2019

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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Statistics for circumstantial

Last Updated

25 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for circumstantial

The first known use of circumstantial was in 1600

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English Language Learners Definition of circumstantial

law : based on information which suggests that something is true but does not prove that it is true
formal : 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

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Comments on circumstantial

What made you want to look up circumstantial? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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