- 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 for circumstance on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for circumstance
Certainly my instinct is to identify with the police, no matter the circumstance.A Veteran’s View: NYC Cold War Between Cops and City Hall
December 29, 2014
The union does not under any circumstance condone violence of any kind, including against police officers.The High-Priced Union Rep Charged With Attacking a Cop
December 19, 2014
If a product is beautiful, why do you need all that pomp and circumstance?The Hot Designer Who Hates Fashion: VK Nagrani Triumphs His Own Way
December 1, 2014
Instead, there was a high school band striking up the Elgar march “Pomp and Circumstance.”The Sexy Dream of the 747
October 26, 2014
But Paul Newman—who now, finally, is none of these people—is clearly at home with his current circumstance: as no one but himself.The Stacks: The Eyes of Winter: Paul Newman at 70
October 11, 2014
The good woman, although low in circumstance, is great in mind!Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
He must get the dominion over circumstance, or circumstance must get the dominion over him.
On them it is forced from without, by sheer pressure of circumstance.
This boy had, so she would accept what the gods of time and circumstance provided.Her Father's Daughter
I afterwards fell in with Bradbury, who mentioned this circumstance to me.Ned Myers
James Fenimore Cooper
- (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 circumstance
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).
Idioms and Phrases with circumstance
see extenuating circumstances; under the circumstances.