circumstantial

adjective

cir·​cum·​stan·​tial ˌsər-kəm-ˈstan(t)-shəl How to pronounce circumstantial (audio)
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
circumstantially 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
Recent Examples on the Web Artifacts from tombs, as well as inscriptions, engravings, and paintings help, but can prove more circumstantial than conclusive. Paul Smaglik, Discover Magazine, 1 May 2024 So, although the evidence remains circumstantial, the time frame seems logical and the scenario plausible, some Egyptologists think. Paul Smaglik, Discover Magazine, 1 May 2024 With no murder weapon or eyewitnesses, the evidence was purely circumstantial. Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times, 11 Apr. 2024 Others have argued that many cases result in lighter penalties because the allegations against officers are circumstantial, not because of any issue with the boards themselves. Libor Jany, Los Angeles Times, 13 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for circumstantial 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'circumstantial.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

see circumstance

First Known Use

1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of circumstantial was in 1600

Dictionary Entries Near circumstantial

Cite this Entry

“Circumstantial.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/circumstantial. Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

circumstantial

adjective
cir·​cum·​stan·​tial ˌsər-kəm-ˈstan-chəl How to pronounce circumstantial (audio)
1
: consisting of, relating to, or depending on circumstances
circumstantial evidence
2
: containing full details
a circumstantial account of what happened
circumstantially adverb

Legal Definition

circumstantial

adjective
cir·​cum·​stan·​tial ˌsər-kəm-ˈstan-chəl How to pronounce circumstantial (audio)
: belonging to, consisting in, or dependent on circumstances
circumstantially adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on circumstantial

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