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 Giuliani called evidence of fraud circumstantial at the news conference. Colleen Long And Zeke Miller,, "Fraud claims aimed in part at keeping Trump’s base loyal," 9 Nov. 2020 Giuliani called evidence of fraud circumstantial at the news conference. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Fraud claims aimed in part at keeping Trump base loyal," 8 Nov. 2020 Giuliani called evidence of fraud circumstantial at the news conference. Arkansas Online, "Fraud claims aimed in part at keeping Trump base loyal," 8 Nov. 2020 That appears to be circumstantial relative to what the Blazers were doing on offense. Evan Dudley, al, "Position-by-position breakdown for UAB’s game against Louisiana," 23 Oct. 2020 What ended up intriguing me most about both shows was circumstantial — the variables that came with where they were performed. Maya Phillips, New York Times, "Two New York Neighborhoods Set the Stage for Decadence and Loss," 21 Oct. 2020 His many October wounds are occasionally circumstantial, often self-inflicted, usually aided and abetted by questionable managerial moves and relief malfeasance behind him. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Braves break it open with 6-run inning, knock out Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers to move one win from World Series," 16 Oct. 2020 She was roundly scolded for presenting a purely circumstantial case against Postle. Brendan I. Koerner, Wired, "The Cheating Scandal That Ripped the Poker World Apart," 21 Sep. 2020 There, scientists were able to identify Athon's remains through dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence. Madeline Mitchell, The Enquirer, "His family wrote remembrances in The Enquirer for years. Now, this WWII Marine can come home.," 9 Sep. 2020

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

19 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Circumstantial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for circumstantial


How to pronounce circumstantial (audio)

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

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