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circumstance

[sur-kuh m-stans or, esp. British, -stuh ns]
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noun
  1. 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.
  2. Usually circumstances. the existing conditions or state of affairs surrounding and affecting an agent: Circumstances permitting, we sail on Monday.
  3. an unessential or secondary accompaniment of any fact or event; minor detail: The author dwells on circumstances rather than essentials.
  4. circumstances, the condition or state of a person with respect to income and material welfare: a family in reduced circumstances.
  5. an incident or occurrence: His arrival was a fortunate circumstance.
  6. detailed or circuitous narration; specification of particulars: The speaker expatiated with great circumstance upon his theme.
  7. Archaic. ceremonious accompaniment or display: pomp and circumstance.
verb (used with object), cir·cum·stanced, cir·cum·stanc·ing.
  1. to place in particular circumstances or relations: The company was favorably circumstanced by the rise in tariffs.
  2. Obsolete.
    1. to furnish with details.
    2. to control or guide by circumstances.
Idioms
  1. under no circumstances, regardless of events or conditions; never: Under no circumstances should you see them again.
  2. 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

1175–1225; Middle English < Latin circumstantia (circumstant-, stem of circumstāns, present participle of circumstāre to stand round), equivalent to circum- circum- + stā- stand + -nt present participle suffix + -ia noun suffix; see -ance

Synonyms

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7. ritual, formality, splendor.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for under the circumstances

circumstance

noun
  1. (usually plural) a condition of time, place, etc, that accompanies or influences an event or condition
  2. an incident or occurrence, esp a chance one
  3. accessory information or detail
  4. formal display or ceremony (archaic except in the phrase pomp and circumstance)
  5. under no circumstances or in no circumstances in no case; never
  6. under the circumstances because of conditions; this being the case
  7. in bad circumstances (of a person) in a bad financial situation
  8. in good circumstances (of a person) in a good financial situation
verb (tr)
  1. to place in a particular condition or situation
  2. obsolete to give in detail

Word Origin

C13: from Old French circonstance, from Latin circumstantia, from circumstāre to stand around, from circum- + stāre to stand
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for under the circumstances

circumstance

n.

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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with under the circumstances

under the circumstances

Also, in the circumstances. Given these conditions, such being the case, as in Under the circumstances we can't leave Mary out. This idiom uses circumstance in the sense of “a particular situation,” a usage dating from the late 1300s. It may also be modified in various ways, such as under any circumstances meaning “no matter what the situation,” as in We'll phone her under any circumstances; under no circumstances, meaning “in no case, never,” as in Under no circumstances may you smoke; under any other circumstances, meaning “in a different situation,” as in I can't work under any other circumstances; and under the same circumstances, meaning “given the same situation,” as in Under the same circumstances anyone would have done the same.

circumstance

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.