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.
Idioms about circumstance
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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use circumstance in a sentence
We don’t know if this research on the 1960s uprisings can be perfectly generalized to protests today, when the circumstances, political climate, and population are different.Violent protests against police brutality in the ’60s and ’90s changed public opinion | German Lopez | August 28, 2020 | Vox
Emergency use authorization gives physicians permission to use an experimental therapy in certain circumstances.COVID-19 plasma treatments may be safe, but we don’t know if they work | Tina Hesman Saey | August 25, 2020 | Science News
This time, China and India are expected to see dramatic contractions in their economies, placing a young consumerist generation in the circumstances their ancestors once faced and setting the stage for a potential revival of the savings culture.Could the Recession Revive the Savings Gene in China and India? | Pallabi Munsi | August 16, 2020 | Ozy
In most circumstances, these two would be shoo-ins for their national teams.Guess Who’s Cheering for Brexit? South African Cricket | Charu Kasturi | August 12, 2020 | Ozy
They bring valuable socialization and fitness opportunities to kids whose mental and physical health might have suffered otherwise, not to mention a safe space for children living in dangerous circumstances.
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 | Matt Gallagher | December 29, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
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 | Jacob Siegel | December 19, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
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 | Tom Teodorczuk | December 1, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Instead, there was a high school band striking up the Elgar march “Pomp and circumstance.”
But Paul Newman—who now, finally, is none of these people—is clearly at home with his current circumstance: as no one but himself.
Which latter circumstance he begged Mr. Perker to note, with a glowing countenance and many marks of indignation.The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, v. 2(of 2) | Charles Dickens
A similar circumstance has occurred on the seashore at Hoy Lake, Cheshire, where several "fairy pipes" have been found.Tobacco; Its History, Varieties, Culture, Manufacture and Commerce | E. R. Billings.
This circumstance had made her feel a deeper interest in Gilbert, and had quickened her friendship into love.The World Before Them | Susanna Moodie
Her money-bags had been filled in Manchester, and from time to time in her history you are reminded of this circumstance.
If you wish, I will send a copy of the certificate of the duty done by this engine, which states very minutely every circumstance.Life of Richard Trevithick, Volume II (of 2) | Francis Trevithick
British Dictionary definitions for circumstance
(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
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with circumstance
see extenuating circumstances; under the circumstances.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.