context

noun
con·​text | \ ˈkän-ˌtekst How to pronounce context (audio) \

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

Other Words from context

contextless \ ˈkän-​ˌtekst-​ləs How to pronounce context (audio) \ adjective
contextual \ kän-​ˈteks-​chə-​wəl How to pronounce context (audio) , 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web But the company added that when people share media to condemn it or provide context, sharing videos and other material from the shooter may not be a rules violation. Haleluya Hadero, Anchorage Daily News, 16 May 2022 Stanford is committed to a holistic review of all candidates, which considers the range of information within each student’s application, including their academic background, life experience, educational context and other personal characteristics. Kristen Taketa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 May 2022 But the company added that when people share media to condemn it or provide context, sharing videos and other material from the shooter may not be a rules violation. Haleluya Hadero, The Christian Science Monitor, 15 May 2022 Markets will be looking for more context and clarity on monetary policy as inflation remains elevated and the broader economic environment appears uncertain. Wsj Staff, WSJ, 15 May 2022 In Olympic-distance triathlons, drafting is permitted, which means that times are even more context-dependent. Alex Hutchinson, Outside Online, 14 May 2022 Ventrelle added more context shortly thereafter, releasing a statement through the Las Vegas Review-Journal accusing Davis of firing him over whistleblowing. Ben Volin, BostonGlobe.com, 14 May 2022 Marvel and Sony could provide the context to tie up these loose ends. Chris Smith, BGR, 13 May 2022 If the production from Cabrera on Friday night wasn’t evidence enough, the numbers beyond the fence in left-center field should provide the necessary context of what kind of hitter the 39-year-old still is. Andy Kostka, Baltimore Sun, 13 May 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of context

circa 1568, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for context

Middle English contexte "text, composition," borrowed from Medieval Latin contextus "sequence, connection, setting," going back to Latin, "action of weaving, connection, coherence, ordered scheme, structure," from contexere "to weave together, connect (words), compose, combine" (from con- con- + texere "to weave, construct") + -tus, suffix of action nouns — more at technical entry 1

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Time Traveler for context

Time Traveler

The first known use of context was circa 1568

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Dictionary Entries Near context

conteur

context

context-free

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Statistics for context

Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Context.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/context. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for context

context

noun
con·​text | \ ˈkän-ˌtekst How to pronounce context (audio) \

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on context

Nglish: Translation of context for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of context for Arabic Speakers

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