1. manner of being situated; location or position with reference to environment: The situation of the house allowed for a beautiful view.
  2. a place or locality.
  3. condition; case; plight: He is in a desperate situation.
  4. the state of affairs; combination of circumstances: The present international situation is dangerous.
  5. a position or post of employment; job.
  6. a state of affairs of special or critical significance in the course of a play, novel, etc.
  7. Sociology. the aggregate of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors acting on an individual or group to condition behavioral patterns.

Origin of situation

First recorded in 1480–90, situation is from the Medieval Latin word situātiōn- (stem of situātiō). See situate, -ion
Related formssit·u·a·tion·al, adjectivesit·u·a·tion·al·ly, adverb

Synonyms for situation

1. site. 4. See state. 5. See position. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for situationally


  1. physical placement, esp with regard to the surroundings
    1. state of affairs; combination of circumstances
    2. a complex or critical state of affairs in a novel, play, etc
  2. social or financial status, position, or circumstances
  3. a position of employment; post
Derived Formssituational, adjective


Situation is often used in contexts in which it is redundant or imprecise. Typical examples are: the company is in a crisis situation or people in a job situation. In the first example, situation does not add to the meaning and should be omitted. In the second example, it would be clearer and more concise to substitute a phrase such as people at work
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 situationally



early 15c., "place, position, or location," from Middle French situation or directly from Medieval Latin situationem (nominative situatio) "a position, situation," noun of action from past participle stem of situare "to place, locate" (see situate). Meaning "state of affairs" is from 1710; meaning "employment post" is from 1803.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with situationally


see no-win situation.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.