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[fawr-ground, fohr-] /ˈfɔrˌgraʊnd, ˈfoʊr-/
the ground or parts situated, or represented as situated, in the front; the portion of a scene nearest to the viewer (opposed to background).
a prominent or important position; forefront.
Origin of foreground
1685-95; fore- + ground1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for foreground
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In the foreground a sign post with the legend, 'Beggars not allowed in this parish.'

    The Road to Damascus August Strindberg
  • But this was not so startling as what it showed in the foreground.

    Malbone Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • Between this and the foreground a deep valley is visible through which the Rhine flows.

  • He can give the effect of light and shade, brightness, foreground and background.

    Albert Durer T. Sturge Moore
  • The two trees nearer the foreground are healthy, medium-sized trees, about fifteen feet diameter at six feet above the ground.

British Dictionary definitions for foreground


the part of a scene situated towards the front or nearest to the viewer
the area of space in a perspective picture, depicted as nearest the viewer
a conspicuous or active position
(transitive) to emphasize (an issue, idea, or word)
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 foreground

1690s, in the landscape sense, from fore- + ground (n.). First used in English by Dryden ("Art of Painting"); cf. Dutch voorgrond.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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foreground in Technology

(Unix) On a time-sharing system, a task executing in foreground is one able to accept input from and return output to the user in contrast to one running in the background. Nowadays this term is primarily associated with Unix, but it appears first to have been used in this sense on OS/360. Normally, there is only one foreground task per terminal (or terminal window). Having multiple processes simultaneously reading the keyboard is confusing.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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