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fore·​ground ˈfȯr-ˌgrau̇nd How to pronounce foreground (audio)
: the part of a scene or representation that is nearest to and in front of the spectator
Objects in the foreground seem larger than those in the background.
: a position of prominence : forefront
We want this issue to be in the foreground.
: a level of computer processing at which the processor responds immediately to input to a designated high-priority task compare background


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foregrounded; foregrounding; foregrounds

transitive verb

: to bring to the foreground
especially : to give prominence or emphasis to

Examples of foreground in a Sentence

Noun We want the issue to be in the foreground. Verb Public discussion has foregrounded the issue of health care. repeatedly foregrounded his experience in international affairs in the course of his campaign for the presidency
Recent Examples on the Web
In the foreground was his mother, wearing a black hijab decorated with red flowers. Adam Rasgon, The New Yorker, 21 Nov. 2023 The results can be discomfiting, as when the camera shows us two characters sitting in a parking lot through a bank window, with a teller noodling around in the foreground. Lili Loofbourow, Washington Post, 10 Nov. 2023 The production’s central character, Early, who’s now a few decades younger and still played by Parker, falls by the wayside during this act, and the lore that Davis has created for his tale takes the foreground. Jackson McHenry, Vulture, 11 Oct. 2023 In the fertile valley, pictured on the left, a town of red-tile roofs is flanked by lush, emerald-green forests, azure-blue water streaming in the foreground. Angelica Aboulhosn, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Nov. 2023 The star of the painting is the guard’s captain, Michiel de Wael, who wears a yellow jerkin with an icy-blue sash in the foreground. Zachary Fine, The New Yorker, 3 Nov. 2023 Flames and smoke surge out of the back of the building, with the same intensity as the wind whipping the flag in the 2017 painting, but in the foreground the museum floats in a pool of water showing nary a trace of disturbance. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, 3 Nov. 2023 But where Taylor’s face looms large in the foreground, his children recede in space along a diagonal that bisects the square canvas. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, 25 Oct. 2023 This frame from a SpaceX video shows 22 Starlink satellites (upper left) soon after deployment from a Falcon 9 rocket, seen in the foreground. Stephen Clark, Ars Technica, 20 Oct. 2023
Sadly, many of the problems foregrounded in those early issues have not been solved five decades on. Barbara Spindel, The Christian Science Monitor, 2 Nov. 2023 Much of it remained corrective in spirit, however; if a show’s protagonists belonged to a marginalized group, for example, there was a tendency to foreground the ways the oppressive dominant culture drove the conflict. Lili Loofbourow, Washington Post, 27 Sep. 2023 Workplace comedies have abounded, melodramas of obscene wealth litter the television landscape, and cop stories thrive in every genre, but rarely do these series choose to foreground the union politics that certainly exist, if off-screen, in their story-worlds. Phillip MacIak, The New Republic, 1 Nov. 2023 To be sure, the historical record would have been much more enriched if the trial had done more to foreground Asian countries instead of their colonizers and to expose Allied violence as well as Allied suffering. Foreign Affairs, 20 Oct. 2023 Hirsch rightly foregrounds the essentially countercultural power of nineteen-fifties movies and their enduring influence. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 30 Oct. 2023 Whereas older collections like Break it Down (1986), Almost No Memory (1997), and Can’t and Won’t (2013) largely feature intimate relations—husbands, ex-husbands, friends, children—this collection foregrounds a cast of strangers—neighbors, fellow travelers, old men seen around town. Jasmine Liu, The New Republic, 24 Oct. 2023 The exhibition seeks to foreground Aghion at the brand, repositioning Chloé as a historically important fashion name and giving the museum a pop culture edge. Vanessa Friedman and Max Lakin, New York Times, 20 Oct. 2023 The history is harsh but Williams foregrounds a structure that doesn’t alienate. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 Sep. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use


1695, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1892, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of foreground was in 1695

Dictionary Entries Near foreground

Cite this Entry

“Foreground.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: the part of a scene or picture that is nearest to and in front of the viewer

More from Merriam-Webster on foreground

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