English edit

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Etymology edit

From Middle English circumstaunce, from Old French circonstance, from Latin circumstantia.

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

circumstance (countable and uncountable, plural circumstances)

  1. Something which is related to, or in some way affects, a fact or event.
    The report should focus on to the current circumstances of the organisation, to help us find a way to grow in the future.
    She went missing in somewhat spooky circumstances.
    • 1819, Washington Irving, The Broken Heart:
      The circumstances are well known in the country where they happened.
    • 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 1, in The Tragedy in Dartmoor Terrace, →OL:
      The story of this adoption is, of course, the pivot round which all the circumstances of the mysterious tragedy revolved. Mrs. Yule had an only son, namely, William, to whom she was passionately attached; but, like many a fond mother, she had the desire of mapping out that son's future entirely according to her own ideas. []
  2. An event; a fact; a particular incident, occurrence, or condition (status).
    Coordinate terms: accident, happenstance
    • 1705, J[oseph] Addison, “Florence”, in Remarks on Several Parts of Italy, &c. in the Years 1701, 1702, 1703, London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], →OCLC, page 413:
      I have ſeen Two or Three antique Buſts of Alexander in the ſame Air and Poſture, and am apt to think the Sculptor had in his Thoughts the Conqueror's weeping for new Worlds, or ſome other the like Circumſtance of his History.
    • 1834, David Crockett, chapter I, in A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett, of the State of Tennessee. [], Philadelphia, Pa.: E[dward] L[awrence] Carey and A[braham] Hart; Boston, Mass.: Allen & Ticknor, →OCLC, page 20:
      Then another circumstance happened, which made a lasting impression on my memory, though I was but a small child.
  3. Circumlocution; detail.
  4. Condition in regard to worldly estate; state of property; situation; surroundings.
    She was born into comfortable circumstances.
    • 1716 May 25 (Gregorian calendar), Joseph Addison, “The Free-holder: No. 42. Monday, May 14. [1716.]”, in The Works of the Right Honourable Joseph Addison, Esq; [], volume IV, London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], published 1721, →OCLC, page 514:
      When men are eaſy in their circumſtances, they are naturally enemies to innovations: []

Derived terms edit

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Translations edit

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Verb edit

circumstance (third-person singular simple present circumstances, present participle circumstancing, simple past and past participle circumstanced)

  1. To place in a particular situation, especially with regard to money or other resources.
    • 1858, Anthony Trollope, “Matrimonial Prospects”, in Doctor Thorne. [], volume I, London: Chapman & Hall, [], →OCLC, page 184:
      Frank muttered something. Tidings had in some shape reached his ears that his father was not comfortably circumstanced as regarded money.
    • 1949, Diderot Studies, volume 11, page 170:
      While also taxing Ferrein with the same motives, Diderot's account of his doings is much more circumstanced than La Mettrie's, and also much more amusing, thanks to the interpolation of the «bijoux» motif.