[sur-kuh m-stanst or, esp. British, -stuh nst]


simple past tense and past participle of circumstance.


being in a condition, or state, especially with respect to income and material welfare, as specified: They were well circumstanced.

Origin of circumstanced

First recorded in 1595–1605; circumstance + -ed2
Related formswell-cir·cum·stanced, adjective


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


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.

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.
  1. to furnish with details.
  2. to control or guide by 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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for circumstanced

Historical Examples of circumstanced

  • You think I must of necessity, as matters are circumstanced, be Solmes's wife.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • I am sorry my case is so circumstanced, that I cannot comply.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • I must be abrupt; for I am so circumstanced, that I have not a moment's time to spare.

  • As matters are circumstanced, Mr. Worthnought, I think it is not worth your while to stay.

  • I have told you this because I want you to understand how men are circumstanced in regard to philosophy.


    An Imitator of Plato

British Dictionary definitions for circumstanced



(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 circumstanced



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 circumstanced


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.