follow Dictionary.com

Get the details behind our redesign

circumstance

[sur-kuh m-stans or, esp. British, -stuh ns] /ˈsɜr kəmˌstæns or, esp. British, -stəns/
noun
1.
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.
2.
Usually, circumstances. the existing conditions or state of affairs surrounding and affecting an agent:
Circumstances permitting, we sail on Monday.
3.
an unessential or secondary accompaniment of any fact or event; minor detail:
The author dwells on circumstances rather than essentials.
4.
circumstances, the condition or state of a person with respect to income and material welfare:
a family in reduced circumstances.
5.
an incident or occurrence:
His arrival was a fortunate circumstance.
6.
detailed or circuitous narration; specification of particulars:
The speaker expatiated with great circumstance upon his theme.
7.
Archaic. ceremonious accompaniment or display:
pomp and circumstance.
verb (used with object), circumstanced, circumstancing.
8.
to place in particular circumstances or relations:
The company was favorably circumstanced by the rise in tariffs.
9.
Obsolete.
  1. to furnish with details.
  2. to control or guide by circumstances.
Idioms
10.
under no circumstances, regardless of events or conditions; never:
Under no circumstances should you see them again.
11.
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.
Origin
1175-1225
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
Synonyms
7. ritual, formality, splendor.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for under the circumstances

circumstance

/ˈsɜːkəmstəns/
noun
1.
(usually pl) a condition of time, place, etc, that accompanies or influences an event or condition
2.
an incident or occurrence, esp a chance one
3.
accessory information or detail
4.
formal display or ceremony (archaic except in the phrase pomp and circumstance)
5.
under no circumstances, in no circumstances, in no case; never
6.
under the circumstances, because of conditions; this being the case
7.
in bad circumstances, (of a person) in a bad financial situation
8.
in good circumstances, (of a person) in a good financial situation
verb (transitive)
9.
to place in a particular condition or situation
10.
(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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for under the circumstances
circumstance
early 13c., "conditions surrounding and accompanying an event," from L. circumstantia "surrounding condition," neut. pl. of circumstans (gen. circumstantis), prp. of circumstare "stand around," from circum "around" + stare "to stand" from PIE base *sta- "to stand" (see stet). Meaning "a person's surroundings, environment" is from mid-14c. 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
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with under the circumstances
Also, in the circumstances. Given these conditions, such being the case, as in Under the circumstances we can't leave Mary out. This idiom uses circumstance in the sense of “a particular situation,” a usage dating from the late 1300s. It may also be modified in various ways, such as under any circumstances meaning “no matter what the situation,” as in We'll phone her under any circumstances; under no circumstances, meaning “in no case, never,” as in Under no circumstances may you smoke; under any other circumstances, meaning “in a different situation,” as in I can't work under any other circumstances; and under the same circumstances, meaning “given the same situation,” as in Under the same circumstances anyone would have done the same.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of The Day

Difficulty index for circumstance

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for under

6
8
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with under the circumstances