context

noun
con·text | \ˈkän-ˌtekst \

Definition of context 

1 : the parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning

2 : the interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs : environment, setting the historical context of the war

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Other Words from context

contextless \ˈkän-ˌtekst-ləs \ adjective
contextual \kän-ˈteks-chə-wəl, kən-, -chəl, -chü-əl \ adjective
contextually adverb

Context, in Context

In its earliest uses (documented in the 15th century), context meant "the weaving together of words in language." This sense, now obsolete, developed logically from the word's source in Latin, contexere "to weave or join together." Context now most commonly refers to the environment or setting in which something (whether words or events) exists. When we say that something is contextualized, we mean that it is placed in an appropriate setting, one in which it may be properly considered.

Examples of context in a Sentence

… it was Dickens who first used the word 'detective' in a literary context — John Mullan, How Novels Work, 2006 Entrepreneurship and civil freedoms depend on a context of civil order, predictability, and individual security. — Susan L. Woodward, Balkan Tragedy, 1995 … the old building, its original acre, inside its high outer wall, was immune to change, out of context and out of time. — Harriet Doerr, The Tiger in the Grass, 1995 We need to look at the event within the larger context of world history. The book puts these events in their proper historical and social contexts. We need to consider these events in context.
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Recent Examples on the Web

But the comments in Britain are much more difficult to place in that context. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "Trump is threatening the Western alliance. And Republicans have no will to stop him.," 13 July 2018 To put this in context, Facebook at the time had not yet been launched and Napster had been shut down just a couple years ago — and a solid three years before Spotify was founded. Jason Abbruzzese, NBC News, "Ben Affleck — yes that Ben Affleck — appears to have predicted Spotify and Netflix back in 2003," 8 July 2018 This content was provided by Chalkbeat Detroit, a nonprofit news organization providing education journalism in context. Koby Levin, Detroit Free Press, "Thousands of grade school children in Detroit go without recess," 7 July 2018 No wonder that 181 Fremont, in context, seems almost frisky. John King, SFChronicle.com, "New nimble, frisky SoMa tower fits neatly into surroundings," 6 July 2018 In that context, WPP has threatened to take away Sorrell’s share awards, which are apparently worth around $26.5 million. David Meyer, Fortune, "GE Arrest, Glencore Buyback, Trump's Invasion Curiosity: CEO Daily for July 5, 2018," 5 July 2018 Looks like her surprising girly-geek moment is not only on trend, but totally in context. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Bella Hadid Commits a Fashion Faux Pas—in the Chicest Way Possible," 28 June 2018 Get our daily newsletter This pessimism should be put in context. The Economist, "Lessons from the rise of strongmen in weak states," 14 June 2018 To put it in context: This is a car that can do zero to sixty miles per hour in only 3.2 seconds. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, "Porsche's latest Panamera offers a tantalizing peek at the coming Taycan electric sedan," 8 June 2018

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

circa 1568, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for context

Middle English, weaving together of words, from Latin contextus connection of words, coherence, from contexere to weave together, from com- + texere to weave — more at technical

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Phrases Related to context

in context

Statistics for context

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for context

The first known use of context was circa 1568

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More Definitions for context

context

noun

English Language Learners Definition of context

: the words that are used with a certain word or phrase and that help to explain its meaning

: the situation in which something happens : the group of conditions that exist where and when something happens

context

noun
con·text | \ˈkän-ˌtekst \

Kids Definition of context

1 : the words that are used with a certain word in writing or speaking Without the context, I don't know what he meant by the word “odd.”

2 : the situation in which something happens The book considers her actions in their historical context.

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Comments on context

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

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