Synonym Chooser

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

Thesaurus Entries Near circumstance

Cite this Entry

“Circumstance.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/circumstance. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

More from Merriam-Webster on circumstance

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ