[ bak-ground ]
/ ˈbækˌgraʊnd /



of, relating to, or serving as a background: background noise.

verb (used with object)

to supply a background to: The passenger's idle thoughts were backgrounded by the drone of the plane's engines.
to supply a background of information for: To background themselves, reporters dug through all available files on the case.

Nearby words

  1. backflap hinge,
  2. backflash,
  3. backflip,
  4. backflow,
  5. backgammon,
  6. background extinction,
  7. background music,
  8. background processing,
  9. background projection,
  10. background radiation


    in/into the background, unobtrusive; inconspicuous; out of sight or notice; in or into obscurity: He kept his dishonest dealings in the background.

Origin of background

First recorded in 1665–75; back1 + ground1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for background

British Dictionary definitions for background


/ (ˈbækˌɡraʊnd) /


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 background



1670s, from back (adj.) + ground (n.); original sense was theatrical, later applied to painting. Figurative sense is first attested 1854.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper