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

To identify Kesler’s remains, agency scientists used anthropological analysis as well as circumstantial and material evidence. Julia Rentsch, The Denver Post, "Remains of Berthoud man killed at Pearl Harbor during World War II identified at last," 7 June 2019 The case President Trump and his allies have built against the Justice Department and the FBI is circumstantial at best. Amber Phillips, Washington Post, "How Rosenstein and Wray’s testimony undermined GOP efforts to undermine the Russia investigation," 28 June 2018 Steinberg, Morrissey’s attorney, has criticized the informants’ information, calling it circumstantial. Vinny Vella,, "Threats, rage: Court filings reveal lovers' spat leading to Bucks slaying," 11 July 2018 The emergence of such diseases depends a great deal on spontaneous genetic mutations and circumstantial factors. R. Daniel Bressler, Vox, "“Designer bugs”: how the next pandemic might come from a lab," 6 Dec. 2018 With significant physical evidence collected from the crime scene missing, prosecutors have been forced to rely on the evidence, all circumstantial, pulled from a well that housed three decades of debris. Christian Boone, ajc, "Old doubts quashed, new ones raised as cold case killing goes to jury," 25 June 2018 Now, part of that is circumstantial, with a lack of weather cancellations and bad weather back East that made Santa Anita one of the few national betting options. John Cherwa,, "Racing! One week to go at Santa Anita," 18 June 2018 Some circumstantial background to back that up: there was a large network meeting in Nigeria a couple weeks ago (NgNOG). Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Google goes down after major BGP mishap routes traffic through China," 12 Nov. 2018 The evidence used in Berry’s prosecution was largely circumstantial — no eyewitnesses, forensic evidence, or videos. Chris Palmer,, "8½ years after Philly man was accused of killing stepfather and 64-year-old woman, jury clears him," 15 June 2018

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

19 Jun 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

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