Synonyms & Antonyms of circumstance

1 a state or end that seemingly has been decided beforehand
  • the condemned murderer seemed indifferent to his circumstance

Synonyms for circumstance

Words Related to circumstance

2 something that happens
  • due to unexpected circumstances, the test will be postponed

Synonyms for circumstance

Words Related to circumstance

3 the uncertain course of events
  • I was a victim of circumstance, for nothing that I could have done would have made a difference

Synonyms for circumstance

Words Related to circumstance

Near Antonyms for circumstance

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Frequently Asked Questions About circumstance

How is the word circumstance distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of circumstance are episode, event, incident, and occurrence. While all these words mean "something that happens or takes place," circumstance implies a specific detail attending an action or event as part of its setting or background.

couldn't recall the exact circumstances

When could episode be used to replace circumstance?

The words episode and circumstance can be used in similar contexts, but episode stresses the distinctiveness or apartness of an incident.

a brief romantic episode in a life devoted to work

When might event be a better fit than circumstance?

The meanings of event and circumstance largely overlap; however, event usually implies an occurrence of some importance and frequently one having antecedent cause.

the events following the assassination

When can incident be used instead of circumstance?

While the synonyms incident and circumstance are close in meaning, incident suggests an occurrence of brief duration or secondary importance.

a minor wartime incident

When would occurrence be a good substitute for circumstance?

Although the words occurrence and circumstance have much in common, occurrence may apply to a happening without intent, volition, or plan.

an encounter that was a chance occurrence

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The first known use of circumstance was in the 13th century

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Cite this Entry

“Circumstance.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on circumstance

Nglish: Translation of circumstance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of circumstance for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about circumstance


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