Definition of background noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈbækɡraʊnd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈbækɡraʊnd//
    Describing art, Family background
    jump to other results
    family/education, etc.
  1. 1  [countable] the details of a person’s family, education, experience, etc. a person’s family/social/cultural/educational/class background The job would suit someone with a business background. In spite of their very different backgrounds, they immediately became friends. See related entries: Family background
  2. past
  3. 2  [countable, usually singular, uncountable] the circumstances or past events that help explain why something is how it is; information about these the historical background to the war background information/knowledge The elections are taking place against a background of violence. Can you give me more background on the company?
  4. of picture/photo
  5. 3  [countable, usually singular] the part of a picture, photograph or view behind the main objects, people, etc. a photograph with trees in the background compare foreground Synonymsenvironmentsetting surroundings backgroundThese are all words for the type of place in which somebody/​something exists or is situated.environment the conditions in a place that affect the behaviour and development of somebody/​something:An unhappy home environment can affect children’s behaviour. a pleasant working environmentsetting a place or situation of a particular type, in which something happens or exists:The island provided an idyllic setting for the concert.surroundings everything that is around or near somebody/​something:The huts blend in perfectly with their surroundings.background the things or area behind or around the main objects or people that are in a place or picture:The mountains in the background were capped with snow.Patterns in (a/​an) environment/​setting/​surroundings (a/​an) new/​unfamiliar environment/​setting/​surroundings somebody/​something’s immediate environment/​surroundings (a) dramatic setting/​background Wordfinderart, background, canvas, exhibition, foreground, frame, fresco, painting, portrait, watercolour Synonymsphotograph picture photo shot snapshot/​snap printThese are all words for a picture that has been made using a camera.photograph a picture that has been made using a camera:a photograph of the house Can I take a photograph?picture a photograph:We had our picture taken in front of the hotel.photo a photograph:a passport photophotograph, picture or photo?Photograph is slightly more formal and photo is slightly less formal. Picture is used especially in the context of photographs in newspapers, magazines and books.shot a photograph:I tried to get a shot of him in the water. Shot often places more emphasis on the process of taking the photograph, rather than the finished picture.snapshot/​snap an informal photograph that is taken quickly, and not by a professional photographer:holiday snapsprint a copy of a photograph that is produced from film or from a digital camera:a set of printsPatterns a colour photograph/​picture/​photo/​snap/​print to take a photograph/​picture/​photo/​shot/​snapshot See related entries: Describing art
  6. less important position
  7. 4  [singular] a position in which people are not paying attention to somebody/something or not as much attention as they are paying to somebody/something else He prefers to remain in the background and let his assistant talk to the press. A piano tinkled gently in the background. background music There was a lot of background noise (= that you could hear, but were not listening to). compare foreground
  8. colour under something
  9. 5[countable, usually singular] a colour or design on which something is painted, drawn, etc. The name of the company is written in red on a white background.
  10. Extra examples Against that general background, let me give you a more detailed view of current practice. Can you tell me something about your family background? Children from a military background often move around a lot. Even people with a technical background will struggle to understand some of the jargon. He came from a very privileged background. He had learned how to melt invisibly into the background. He prefers to remain in the background and let his assistant deal with the press. Her academic background includes a degree in education. Her background was in biology and medicine. I could see my secretary hovering in the background. I think we get on well because we’re from similar backgrounds. In the future, we will require background checks on airport employees. It is important to have a broad educational background. Most paintings look good against a neutral background colour/​color. She has a good solid background in management. She wanted to know about his criminal background. The areas of water stood out against the dark background. The book provides the background to the revolution. The dispute over the new contract allowed her other problems to fade into the background. The mountains in the background were capped with snow. The signal was very clear, with no background hiss or distortion. The students are drawn from very mixed social backgrounds. The wolves’ coats turn white to match their snowy background. There was a radio on in the background. Those discussions formed the background to the decision. We work with clients from diverse backgrounds. Who did the background vocals on that track? an economist with a background in business background information on the country bright blue on a red background children from deprived backgrounds the historical background of the project the technical background to the report Can you give me more background on the company’s financial position? Discrimination on the basis of race, sex or social background will not be tolerated. Encyclopedias are a good source of background information. The book explains the complex historical background to the war. The classes are designed for students with a background in history or theology. We are from very different backgrounds but we get on very well. We were provided with soft lights and a tranquil background. somebody’s family/​social/​cultural/​educational/​class backgroundIdioms (computing) (of a computer program) not being used at the present time and appearing on the screen behind programs that are being used compare in the foreground
    merge into the background
    jump to other results
    (of a person) to behave quietly when you are with a group of people so that they do not notice you
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: background