Definition of context in English:



  • 1The circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood:

    ‘the proposals need to be considered in the context of new European directives’
    • ‘To explain the ideas of Nazism without this is to examine ideas outside their social context.’
    • ‘Social visiting within such contexts is very common and occurs on both an everyday basis and for special events.’
    • ‘Are we defined by the work we do, or do we define ourselves within the context of what we do?’
    • ‘We are going to be able, within a European context, to be in a more positive position.’
    • ‘Yet the contexts within which engagement and idea sharing are invited obviously do not have wide appeal.’
    • ‘Western managers often have difficulties making new decisions within new environmental contexts.’
    • ‘It was the context within which this was happening that drew me in this time because it seemed to be talking to me.’
    • ‘This will change many times before November, but it is all taking place within a context.’
    • ‘It is in our interests to know and understand the contexts in which such values have been shaped.’
    • ‘For new readers this can be an advantage, but they become disadvantages in contexts of closer study.’
    • ‘He analyses events in their context, a very worthy practice for any historian to follow.’
    • ‘He is also smart enough to understand the context of his personal achievements.’
    • ‘This is down to his determination to place current events in a historical context.’
    • ‘I had never really attached the plays fully to the social context they came from.’
    • ‘It takes long to explain our context so you can understand the impact of such thing in our culture.’
    • ‘So in the context of this background, it was perfectly reasonable for Sean to say what he did.’
    • ‘What it does do is examine the situation it has created within the context it has laid out.’
    • ‘Here, military history becomes an aspect of war is best studied in terms of the political contexts that give it meaning.’
    • ‘It is far from clear to me that information and computation are meaningful terms outside of such contexts.’
    • ‘I think if you can understand your contexts then you have power to use this to help yourself.’
    circumstances, conditions, surroundings, factors, state of affairs
    frame of reference, contextual relationship
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The parts of something written or spoken that immediately precede and follow a word or passage and clarify its meaning:
      ‘skilled readers use context to construct meaning from words as they are read’
      • ‘I like visiting the websites and see the words in their original context and formatting.’
      • ‘Surely we can imagine other meanings and contexts for these words.’
      • ‘Wordsworth likes to take words from a context that is dreadful and render them benign.’
      • ‘It was written in a commercial context and it falls to be objectively construed.’
      • ‘They are each asked to spell one word to which they may ask the country of origin and what context the word may be used.’
      • ‘The only relevant inquiry is as to the sense of the words in the context in which they are used.’
      • ‘We must understand the meanings of the words in their contexts.’
      • ‘It also results in the legitimate public use of words that in other contexts are regarded as slang.’
      • ‘At the end the utterance may be reduced to single words alluding to contexts they once occurred in.’
      • ‘Put another way, he chooses his words carefully, and he chooses the contexts in which they will have most impact.’
      • ‘In these contexts it's not so much a word struggling to express the inexpressible as a word used to sound good and to avoid real thinking.’
      • ‘Each word in the context signifies the opposite of what it was once meant to.’
      • ‘I will exhibit the evidence for personal contexts and then say a word about impersonal ones.’
      • ‘Numerous grammatical items can only be understood if the context is taken into account.’
      • ‘Are there some contexts in which that word has a narrower meaning than a reference to a liability to make good any loss?’
      • ‘Action is revealed in talk and as such talk must be analysed in terms of its context.’
      • ‘The problem is to decide what this means in the context in which the words are used.’
      • ‘It's clear to me that he has either not read the piece properly, or not understood its context.’
      • ‘What saddens me so much is that very little is being written in the context of the debate.’
      • ‘The conceptualizations associated with a word will tend to vary somewhat according to the contexts in which the word is used.’
      structure, framework
      View synonyms


Late Middle English (denoting the construction of a text): from Latin contextus, from con- together + texere to weave.