circumstance

[sur-kuhm-stans or, esp. British, -stuhns]
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noun

verb (used with object), cir·cum·stanced, cir·cum·stanc·ing.

to place in particular circumstances or relations: The company was favorably circumstanced by the rise in tariffs.
Obsolete.
  1. to furnish with details.
  2. to control or guide by circumstances.

Idioms

    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

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 for circumstance

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


Examples from the Web for circumstance

Contemporary Examples of circumstance

Historical Examples of circumstance

  • The good woman, although low in circumstance, is great in mind!

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • 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

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • I afterwards fell in with Bradbury, who mentioned this circumstance to me.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper


British Dictionary definitions for circumstance

circumstance

noun

(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

verb (tr)

to place in a particular condition or situation
obsolete to give in detail

Word Origin for circumstance

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 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 circumstance

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.