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backdrop

[ bak-drop ]
/ ˈbækˌdrɒp /
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noun

Also called, especially British, back-cloth [bak-klawth, -kloth] /ˈbækˌklɔθ, -ˌklɒθ/ .Theater. the rear curtain of a stage setting.
the background of an event; setting.
Gymnastics. a maneuver in which a trampolinist jumps in the air, lands on the back with the arms and legs pointed upward, and then springs up to a standing position.

verb (used with object), back·dropped or back·dropt, back·drop·ping.

to provide a setting or background for: A vast mountain range backdrops the broad expanse of lake.

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Origin of backdrop

An Americanism dating back to 1910–15; back1 + drop
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What does backdrop mean?

Backdrop refers to the background or setting of a situation or event.

It can refer to something physically located in the background of something else, such as a backdrop used for a photo shoot. It can also be used figuratively to refer to circumstances that surround an event, as in a backdrop of scandal and accusations of fraud. 

More specifically, a backdrop is the curtain that hangs at the back of the stage in a theater, as in We have to fix the rips in the backdrop before the big show. 

Less commonly, backdrop can also be used as a verb to mean providing a background for something, as in The towering trees backdropped the outdoor photo shoot. 

Example: The film took place against the backdrop of World War II and featured major events from the war.

Where does backdrop come from?

The first records of the word backdrop come from the early 1910s. It was first used in the U.S. It’s simply a combination of back, meaning “the rear part,” and drop, referring to something that falls or hangs vertically—like the back curtain of a stage.

While many theater backdrops are plain black or red, they can also be painted or printed with a scene that relates to the show being staged. In everyday use, backdrop is often used figuratively to refer to the conditions or circumstances that surround an event to provide context. In other words, the backdrop of an even consists of the things happening in the background (and the word background can be used as a synonym of this sense of backdrop).

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What are some synonyms for backdrop?

What are some words that share a root or word element with backdrop

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How is backdrop used in real life?

Backdrop is commonly used to refer figuratively to the background or context of a situation.

 

 

Try using backdrop!

Is backdrop used correctly in the following sentence?

The self-portrait depicted the artist posing in front of a backdrop of a lush garden.

British Dictionary definitions for backdrop

backdrop
/ (ˈbækˌdrɒp) /

noun

another name for backcloth
the background to any scene or situation
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
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