- 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 on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for circumstances
And as he adjusted to this change in circumstances, he screamed at himself a second time: Wait!
Guilt, when dispensed in the circumstances Morris occupied, is the anti-Viagra.
The grim instability of shelter life is hardly a recipe for success under the best of circumstances.His First Day Out Of Jail After 40 Years: Adjusting To Life Outside
January 3, 2015
Everything is a different situation, depending on where I find it and what the circumstances are.#Setinthestreet: Your Street Corner Is Their Art Project
December 24, 2014
Like I said, in spite of or because of my circumstances, I was able to accomplish my dreams.Tim Howard’s Wall of Intensity
December 22, 2014
These circumstances have led me to suppose that you worship them as mere forms.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
I don't believe he will blame me when he knows the circumstances.
He knew the circumstances of the Rushtons, and he had not supposed they had any money on hand.
I regret this, but did the best I could under the circumstances.
He was as kind and obliging as it was possible to be in his circumstances.Explorations in Australia
- (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 circumstances
"condition of life, material welfare" (usually with a qualifying adjective), 1704, from 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 circumstances
see extenuating circumstances; under the circumstances.