- a condition, detail, part, or attribute, with respect to time, place, manner,agent, etc., that accompanies, determines, or modifies a fact or event; a modifying or influencing factor: Do not judge his behavior without considering every circumstance.
- Usually circumstances. the existing conditions or state of affairs surrounding and affecting an agent: Circumstances permitting, we sail on Monday.
- an unessential or secondary accompaniment of any fact or event; minor detail: The author dwells on circumstances rather than essentials.
- circumstances, the condition or state of a person with respect to income and material welfare: a family in reduced circumstances.
- an incident or occurrence: His arrival was a fortunate circumstance.
- detailed or circuitous narration; specification of particulars: The speaker expatiated with great circumstance upon his theme.
- Archaic. ceremonious accompaniment or display: pomp and circumstance.
- to place in particular circumstances or relations: The company was favorably circumstanced by the rise in tariffs.
- to furnish with details.
- to control or guide by circumstances.
- under no circumstances, regardless of events or conditions; never: Under no circumstances should you see them again.
- under the circumstances, because of the conditions; as the case stands: Under the circumstances, there is little hope for an early settlement.Also in the circumstances.
Origin of circumstance
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- (usually plural) a condition of time, place, etc, that accompanies or influences an event or condition
- an incident or occurrence, esp a chance one
- accessory information or detail
- formal display or ceremony (archaic except in the phrase pomp and circumstance)
- under no circumstances or in no circumstances in no case; never
- under the circumstances because of conditions; this being the case
- in bad circumstances (of a person) in a bad financial situation
- in good circumstances (of a person) in a good financial situation
- to place in a particular condition or situation
- obsolete to give in detail
Word Origin and History for in the circumstances
early 13c., "conditions surrounding and accompanying an event," from Old French circonstance "circumstance, situation," also literally, "outskirts" (13c., Modern French circonstance), from Latin circumstantia "surrounding condition," neuter plural of circumstans (genitive circumstantis), present participle of circumstare "stand around, surround, encompass, occupy, take possession of" from circum "around" (see circum-) + stare "to stand" from PIE root *sta- "to stand" (see stet). The Latin word is a loan-translation of Greek peristasis.
Meaning "a person's surroundings, environment" is from mid-14c. Meaning "a detail" is from c.1300; sense of "that which is non-essential" is from 1590s. Obsolete sense of "formality about an important event" (late 14c.) lingers in Shakespeare's phrase pomp and circumstance ("Othello" III, iii).