noun Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin circumstantia, from circumstant-, circumstans, present participle of circumstare to stand around, from circum- + stare to stand — more at stand Date: 13th century 1. a. a condition, fact, or event accompanying, conditioning, or determining another ; an essential or inevitable concomitant <
the weather is a circumstance to be taken into consideration
b. a subordinate or accessory fact or detail <
cost is a minor circumstance in this case
c. a piece of evidence that indicates the probability or improbability of an event (as a crime) <
the circumstance of the missing weapon told against him
the circumstances suggest murder
2. a. the sum of essential and environmental factors (as of an event or situation) <
constant and rapid change in economic circumstance — G. M. Trevelyan
b. state of affairs ; eventuality <
open rebellion was a rare circumstance
— often used in plural <
a victim of circumstances
c. plural situation with regard to wealth <
he was in easy circumstances
rose from difficult circumstances
3. attendant formalities and ceremonial <
pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war — Shakespeare
4. an event that constitutes a detail (as of a narrative or course of events) <
considering each circumstance in turn
Synonyms: see occurrence

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

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  • circumstance — cir cum*stance (s[ e]r k[u^]m*st[a^]ns), n. [L. circumstantia, fr. circumstans, antis, p. pr. of circumstare to stand around; circum + stare to stand. See {Stand}.] 1. That which attends, or relates to, or in some way affects, a fact or event; an …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • circumstance — (n.) early 13c., conditions surrounding and accompanying an event, from O.Fr. circonstance circumstance, situation, also literally, outskirts (Mod.Fr. circonstance), from L. circumstantia surrounding condition, neut. pl. of circumstans (gen.… …   Etymology dictionary

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  • Circumstance — Cir cum*stance, v. t. To place in a particular situation; to supply relative incidents. [1913 Webster] The poet took the matters of fact as they came down to him and circumstanced them, after his own manner. Addison. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • circumstance — *occurrence, event, incident, episode Analogous words: *item, detail, particular: factor, constituent, component, *element …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • circumstance — The debate about the merits of in the circumstances and under the circumstances continued for most of the 20c. The pedantic view is that since circumstances are, etymologically speaking, around (circum) us, we must be in them and not under them;… …   Modern English usage

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  • circumstance — noun 1 (usually circumstances) facts/events that affect sth ADJECTIVE ▪ favourable/favorable ▪ The plan might work better with more favourable/favorable circumstances. ▪ adverse, difficult, dire, tra …   Collocations dictionary

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