English

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

        

    circumstance

     noun
    noun
    BrE BrE//ˈsɜːkəmstəns//
     
    , BrE//ˈsɜːkəmstɑːns//
     
    , BrE//ˈsɜːkəmstæns//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈsɜːrkəmstæns//
     
     
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  1. 1  [countable, usually plural] the conditions and facts that are connected with and affect a situation, an event or an action The company reserves the right to cancel this agreement in certain circumstances. changing social and political circumstances I know I can trust her in any circumstance. Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the boy's death. The ship sank in mysterious circumstances. She never discovered the true circumstances of her birth. Synonymssituationcircumstances position conditions things the case state of affairsThese are all words for the conditions and facts that are connected with and affect the way things are.situation all the things that are happening at a particular time and in a particular place:the present economic situationcircumstances the facts that are connected with and affect a situation, an event or an action; the conditions of a person’s life, especially the money they have:The ship sank in mysterious circumstances.position the situation that somebody is in, especially when it affects what they can and cannot do:She felt she was in a position of power.conditions the circumstances in which people live, work or do things; the physical situation that affects how something happens:We were forced to work outside in freezing conditions.circumstances or conditions?Circumstances refers to somebody’s financial situation; conditions are things such as the quality and amount of food or shelter they have. The circumstances that affect an event are the facts surrounding it; the conditions that affect it are usually physical ones, such as the weather.things (rather informal) the general situation, as it affects somebody:Hi, Jane! How are things? Think things over before you decide.the case the true situation:If that is the case (= if the situation described is true), we need more staff.state of affairs a situation:How did this unhappy state of affairs come about?situation or state of affairs? State of affairs is mostly used with this. It is also used with adjectives describing how good or bad a situation is, such as happy, sorry, shocking, sad and unhappy, as well as those relating to time, such as present and current. Situation is much more frequent and is used in a wider variety of contexts.Patterns in (a) particular situation/​circumstances/​position/​state of affairs the/​somebody’s economic/​financial/​social situation/​circumstances/​position/​conditions (a/​an) happy/​unhappy situation/​circumstances/​position/​state of affairs to look at/​review the situation/​circumstances/​conditions/​things
  2. 2  circumstances [plural] the conditions of a person’s life, especially the money they have Grants are awarded according to your financial circumstances. family/domestic/personal circumstances
  3. 3[uncountable] (formal) situations and events that affect and influence your life and that are not in your control a victim of circumstance (= a person who has suffered because of a situation that they cannot control) He had to leave the country through force of circumstance (= events made it necessary). We were simply thrown together by circumstance on the long journey.
  4. Word Origin Middle English: from Old French circonstance or Latin circumstantia, from circumstare ‘encircle, encompass’, from circum ‘around’ + stare ‘stand’.Extra examples Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to reschedule the concert. He died in tragic circumstances. He was a writer living in straitened circumstances. He was simply a victim of circumstance. His sentence was reduced because of the extenuating circumstances. I felt that circumstances were conspiring against me. In normal circumstances I would let you use my car, but today I need it. In the circumstances, you’d better call the police. Only if the circumstances are exceptional will we accept late applications. She died in rather suspicious circumstances. The amount paid will vary according to circumstances. The bank will investigate the circumstances surrounding the robbery. The delays were due to circumstances beyond our control. The plan might work better with more favourable/​favorable circumstances. The survivors ate plants and insects by force of circumstance. Under no circumstances should you leave the door unlocked. We lost our position in the market due to a combination of circumstances. an unfortunate set of circumstances that made her life difficult life in the changing economic circumstances of China people facing adverse circumstances the tragic circumstances of his early life Don’t open the door, in any circumstances. Grants are awarded according to your financial circumstances. He had to leave the country through force of circumstance. Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the boy’s death. Under the circumstances , it seemed better not to tell him about the accident.Idioms
    in/under the circumstances
     
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    used before or after a statement to show that you have thought about the conditions that affect a situation before making a decision or a statement Under the circumstances, it seemed better not to tell him about the accident. She did the job very well in the circumstances.
    in/under no circumstances
     
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    used to emphasize that something should never happen or be allowed Under no circumstances should you lend Paul any money. Don't open the door, in any circumstances.
    formal and impressive ceremony Funerals of famous people were conducted with great pomp and circumstance. the state of being poorer than you were before. People say living in reduced circumstances to avoid saying poor.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: circumstance

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