Definition of circumstance in English:

circumstance

noun

  • 1usually circumstancesA fact or condition connected with or relevant to an event or action:

    ‘we wanted to marry but circumstances didn't permit’
    • ‘But the judgment whether exceptional circumstances exist is not quantitative only, but may be qualitative also.’
    • ‘Strategic aims and circumstances have traditionally dictated campaign concepts.’
    • ‘She knew that had the circumstances been different she would want more than his friendship.’
    • ‘Was there any other way to mitigate the wretched circumstances of his life?’
    • ‘Normally, in ordinary circumstances, his drop wouldn't have been a problem.’
    • ‘They have just faxed us to say there are unable to travel because of unforeseen circumstances beyond their control.’
    • ‘People will look at the circumstances on the ground and see what is needed.’
    • ‘In my view it was an opinion which is justified by the particular circumstances of the case.’
    • ‘She said there were special circumstances prevailing in the State that require special consideration.’
    • ‘"I think it makes sense for colleges to take into account the life circumstances of individual applicants.’
    • ‘He'd agreed to the deal very quickly, too quickly, even given the extenuating circumstances.’
    • ‘The issues would have to be judged on the circumstances at the time.’
    • ‘In the meantime it created embarrassment and difficulties for the College in considering her extenuating circumstances.’
    • ‘Given the difficult circumstances, they all act with incredible grace.’
    • ‘Where difficult circumstances arose, rather than tell lies, the organisation would be silent.’
    • ‘Against that background I consider the particular circumstances of the two claimants.’
    • ‘She landed safely in his, but that had not changed the dire circumstances of the moment.’
    • ‘We will need to take speed and circumstance into consideration if these plans are to work sensibly.’
    • ‘Sure, he wasn't following the " exact rules, " but certain circumstances had changed them.’
    • ‘Finally, the authors suggest that the second patient's difficult social circumstances affect her suitability for transplantation.’
    situation, conditions, set of conditions, state of affairs, things, position
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An event or fact that causes or helps to cause something to happen, typically something undesirable:
      ‘he was found dead but there were no suspicious circumstances’
      [mass noun] ‘they were thrown together by circumstance’
      • ‘But, since there are no outlined commitments to stay with each other, what if unforeseen circumstances arise?’
      • ‘The varying economic circumstances of different markets must be taken into account.’
      • ‘Staying would give me the opportunity to see how to make change happen in difficult circumstances.’
      • ‘No one bothered to investigate the true circumstances of her death.’
      • ‘He states that there were extenuating circumstances which justify the delay in filing the income tax returns.’
      • ‘To be just, the law must also be flexible enough to take unusual circumstances into account.’
      • ‘Once the decision is made, barring extraordinary, unforeseen circumstances, it should not be reversed.’
      • ‘Despite the general principle excluding liability for omissions, liability may arise in certain exceptional circumstances.’
      • ‘What is distracting about these two are the circumstances of their political demise.’
      • ‘Again, thanks to circumstances beyond our control, our competitiveness has been eroded.’
      • ‘Police say there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the fire.’
      • ‘But they are thrown together by circumstance, of the imperative to experience every moment as if it were their last, which it might well be.’
      • ‘Rumour and speculation have since run riot on the circumstances of his death.’
      • ‘His parents have spoken of their concerns about the circumstances of his death.’
      • ‘Now, the circumstances of the aggravation as alleged by the prosecution are not correct.’
      • ‘There is a policy, already in operation, for certain officers to carry arms, under certain unusual circumstances.’
      • ‘"The process is sufficiently fair to cater for the exceptional circumstances of the case, " the judgment read.’
      • ‘Similar circumstances forced the cancellation of races at least two other times in recent years.’
      • ‘Now it hardly needs adding that mitigating circumstances exist for the dearth of success on the ski slopes.’
      • ‘The two also have a stimulating discussion about whether murder can ever be justified by extenuating circumstances.’
      the facts, the details, the particulars, the picture, how things stand, the lie of the land, how the land lies, the case
      View synonyms
  • 2circumstancesOne's state of financial or material welfare:

    ‘the artists are living in reduced circumstances’
    • ‘Accordingly, I am satisfied there has been no material change in your circumstances.’
    • ‘Children in these circumstances often take on the family finances just to survive.’
    • ‘It was a poorly paid job and he was brought up in financially difficult circumstances.’
    • ‘Instead, he opted to look ahead, seeking to build his own team in improved financial circumstances.’
    • ‘These rebates are much more generous to pensioners with the same level of income and other circumstances.’
    • ‘In the end, however, moving home tends to be driven by personal rather than financial circumstances.’
    • ‘The problem is rather that his material circumstances are not in his control.’
    • ‘The magistrates, who can grant financial help in extreme circumstances, turned down his request.’
    • ‘It is on the basis of a family's financial circumstances, and I think that is proper.’
    • ‘Magistrates agreed not to impose any financial penalty due to his financial circumstances.’
    financial position, material position, financial situation, material situation, financial status, material status, station in life, lot, lifestyle
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  • 3archaic Ceremony and public display:

    ‘pomp and circumstance’
    • ‘The celebration was a grand display of pomp and circumstance led by the students of the school.’
    • ‘He was never someone to stand on ceremony or circumstance even if this was his last domestic game of rugby.’
    • ‘The 40-piece ensemble promises an evening of pomp and circumstance featuring popular classics and surprises.’
    • ‘TV provided the circumstance of the Coronation in black and white, but the cinema adds the pomp.’
    • ‘The pomp and the circumstance is all engineered by them, not by us.’
    the facts, the details, the particulars, the picture, how things stand, the lie of the land, how the land lies, the case
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • circumstances alter cases

    • proverb One's opinion or treatment of someone or something may vary according to the prevailing circumstances.

      • ‘Noses alter faces and circumstances alter cases, as the old saying puts it.’
      • ‘His summary of the central controversy in moral philosophy as ‘circumstances alter cases’ show his limits, however.’
      • ‘The central question of moral philosophy and the question I briefly addressed is where we get the rules to decide how circumstances alter cases (among other things).’
      • ‘It seems nothing will induce them to accept that circumstances alter cases.’
  • under (or in) the circumstances

    • Given the difficult nature of the situation:

      ‘she had every right to be cross under the circumstances’
      • ‘You couldn't have asked for a happier ending under the circumstances, and it's all true.’
      • ‘I think we have to go ahead and do the best we can under the circumstances.’
      • ‘Next comes the question of whether this really could have been pulled off at all under the circumstances.’
      • ‘She was deemed to have used reasonable force under the circumstances.’
      • ‘This request by the Prime Minister's office would therefore seem excessive under the circumstances.’
      • ‘It's an excellent gesture, particularly under the circumstances.’
      • ‘Otherwise it is difficult to discuss anything under the circumstances.’
      • ‘I personally would find it difficult to maintain a detached tone under the circumstances.’
      • ‘Yet, something about his nature seemed odd under the circumstances.’
      • ‘The ground held up very well under the circumstances but footing was difficult and the ball was extremely greasy.’
  • under (or in) no circumstances

    • Never, whatever the situation is or might be:

      ‘under no circumstances may the child be identified’
      • ‘And remember - there is to be no short selling unless normal investors want to buy, and under no circumstances should you go short if you think the market might fall.’
      • ‘However, under no circumstances will we transmit a piece of evidence if it could be used to back up a death sentence.’
      • ‘So, under no circumstances will there be subsidies?’
      • ‘You later apologise for losing your temper, but are then given a written warning and told that under no circumstances must you act the same way again.’
      • ‘And the thing that was in my mind was that Greece, under no circumstances whatsoever, should end up in civil war.’
      • ‘But under no circumstances should you keep quiet.’
      • ‘It can help, definitely, but under no circumstances would we ever say it would cure something.’
      • ‘So you're basically saying under no circumstances would you either seek or accept the vice presidential nomination?’
      • ‘We want to remind the public under no circumstances should anyone enter the fenced-off land.’
      • ‘I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my country.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French circonstance or Latin circumstantia, from circumstare encircle, encompass, from circum around + stare stand.

Pronunciation:

circumstance

/ˈsəːkəmst(ə)ns/