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[sur-kuh m-stanst or, esp. British, -stuh nst] /ˈsɜr kəmˌstænst or, esp. British, -stənst/
simple past tense and past participle of circumstance.
being in a condition, or state, especially with respect to income and material welfare, as specified:
They were well circumstanced.
Origin of circumstanced
1595-1605; circumstance + -ed2
Related forms
well-circumstanced, adjective


[sur-kuh m-stans or, esp. British, -stuh ns] /ˈsɜr kəmˌstæns or, esp. British, -stəns/
a condition, detail, part, or attribute, with respect to time, place, manner,agent, etc., that accompanies, determines, or modifies a fact or event; a modifying or influencing factor:
Do not judge his behavior without considering every circumstance.
Usually, circumstances. the existing conditions or state of affairs surrounding and affecting an agent:
Circumstances permitting, we sail on Monday.
an unessential or secondary accompaniment of any fact or event; minor detail:
The author dwells on circumstances rather than essentials.
circumstances, the condition or state of a person with respect to income and material welfare:
a family in reduced circumstances.
an incident or occurrence:
His arrival was a fortunate circumstance.
detailed or circuitous narration; specification of particulars:
The speaker expatiated with great circumstance upon his theme.
Archaic. ceremonious accompaniment or display:
pomp and circumstance.
verb (used with object), circumstanced, circumstancing.
to place in particular circumstances or relations:
The company was favorably circumstanced by the rise in tariffs.
  1. to furnish with details.
  2. to control or guide by circumstances.
under no circumstances, regardless of events or conditions; never:
Under no circumstances should you see them again.
under the circumstances, because of the conditions; as the case stands:
Under the circumstances, there is little hope for an early settlement.
Also, in the circumstances.
1175-1225; Middle English < Latin circumstantia (circumstant-, stem of circumstāns, present participle of circumstāre to stand round), equivalent to circum- circum- + stā- stand + -nt present participle suffix + -ia noun suffix; see -ance
7. ritual, formality, splendor. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for circumstanced
Historical Examples
  • In an ordinary man, this would be singular intrepidity; but circumstanced as O'Donnell was, it amounted to a Roman virtue.

    The Felon's Track Michael Doheny
  • You think I must of necessity, as matters are circumstanced, be Solmes's wife.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • Is a man so circumstanced likely to commit so sordid a crime as that with which he is charged?

  • I am sorry my case is so circumstanced, that I cannot comply.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • That your love is now a torment to you; that you can't live any longer thus, nor bear to be so circumstanced?

    Dangerous Connections, v. 1, 2, 3, 4 Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
  • I must be abrupt; for I am so circumstanced, that I have not a moment's time to spare.

  • I do; he knows how I am circumstanced, and that my going home was merely because I was tired of looking after the Aurora.

    Mr. Midshipman Easy Captain Frederick Marryat
  • I have told you this because I want you to understand how men are circumstanced in regard to philosophy.

    Eryxias An Imitator of Plato
  • This place abounds in munition for the press; but I am so circumstanced I cannot take advantage of it.

  • It is for the man to have that;—at any rate for one so circumstanced as you.

    Ralph the Heir Anthony Trollope
British Dictionary definitions for circumstanced


(usually pl) a condition of time, place, etc, that accompanies or influences an event or condition
an incident or occurrence, esp a chance one
accessory information or detail
formal display or ceremony (archaic except in the phrase pomp and circumstance)
under no circumstances, in no circumstances, in no case; never
under the circumstances, because of conditions; this being the case
in bad circumstances, (of a person) in a bad financial situation
in good circumstances, (of a person) in a good financial situation
verb (transitive)
to place in a particular condition or situation
(obsolete) to give in detail
Word Origin
C13: from Old French circonstance, from Latin circumstantia, from circumstāre to stand around, from circum- + stāre to stand
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
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Word Origin and History for circumstanced



early 13c., "conditions surrounding and accompanying an event," from Old French circonstance "circumstance, situation," also literally, "outskirts" (13c., Modern French circonstance), from Latin circumstantia "surrounding condition," neuter plural of circumstans (genitive circumstantis), present participle of circumstare "stand around, surround, encompass, occupy, take possession of" from circum "around" (see circum-) + stare "to stand" from PIE root *sta- "to stand" (see stet). The Latin word is a loan-translation of Greek peristasis.

Meaning "a person's surroundings, environment" is from mid-14c. Meaning "a detail" is from c.1300; sense of "that which is non-essential" is from 1590s. Obsolete sense of "formality about an important event" (late 14c.) lingers in Shakespeare's phrase pomp and circumstance ("Othello" III, iii).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with circumstanced
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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