Definition of circumstance in English:



  • 1A fact or condition connected with or relevant to an event or action.

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

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

    • Never, whatever the situation is or might be.

      ‘under no circumstances may the child be identified’
      • ‘But under no circumstances should you keep quiet.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And the thing that was in my mind was that Greece, under no circumstances whatsoever, should end up in civil war.’
      • ‘It can help, definitely, but under no circumstances would we ever say it would cure something.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So you're basically saying under no circumstances would you either seek or accept the vice presidential nomination?’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘We want to remind the public under no circumstances should anyone enter the fenced-off land.’
  • under (or in) the circumstances

    • Given the difficult nature of the situation.

      ‘she had every right to be angry 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.’
      • ‘This request by the Prime Minister's office would therefore seem excessive under the circumstances.’
      • ‘You couldn't have asked for a happier ending under the circumstances, and it's all true.’
      • ‘It's an excellent gesture, particularly under the circumstances.’
      • ‘Next comes the question of whether this really could have been pulled off at all under the circumstances.’
      • ‘I think we have to go ahead and do the best we can under the circumstances.’
      • ‘She was deemed to have used reasonable force 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.’


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