Definition of background in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbakˌɡround/


1 [in singular] The area or scenery behind the main object of contemplation, especially when perceived as a framework for it: the house stands against a background of sheltering trees
backdrop, backcloth, surrounding(s), setting, scene
1.1The part of a picture or design that serves as a setting to the main figures or objects, or that appears furthest from the viewer: the background shows a landscape of domes and minarets the word is written in white on a red background
More example sentences
  • The top lot was Andy Warhol's 1963 painting Liz, with a bright red background.
  • Pieces consists of a dark red background with dark green plantlike forms on top.
  • The flag's blue field serves as a background for the Great Seal of Guam, representing Guam's unity with the sea and the sky.
1.2A position or function that is not prominent or conspicuous: after that evening, Athens remained in the background
More example sentences
  • There is a whole system at work here, chugging along quietly in the background, unnoticed, and when you stop to think about it, its just awesome!
  • Ideally, you should be quiet, in the background, unnoticed forever.
  • Surely, there had to be a highly developed public relations conspiracy orchestrated in the background.
1.3 Computing Used to describe tasks or processes running on a computer that do not need input from the user: programs can be left running in the background
More example sentences
  • A daemon is a program that runs quietly in the background and processes information on the computer automatically.
  • Playback was smooth, even with tasks running in the background.
  • You have to go into Windows Task Manager and terminate the background process for Outlook prior to starting a backup.
1.4 Physics Low-intensity radiation from radioisotopes present in the natural environment.
Example sentences
  • Another line of evidence that the universe began is the cosmic radiation background.
  • Each photon in the cosmic background, though, retained some clues about the time and place of its last scattering.
1.5Unwanted signals, such as noise in the reception or recording of sound.
Example sentences
  • But there was a background noise in the signal that just didn't go away, and they couldn't figure out how to get rid of it.
  • Using technology to the fullest, the show uses a sound system for background noise.
  • Although the performances are well done, the variation in recording quality and background noise is audible.
2The circumstances or situation prevailing at a particular time or underlying a particular event: the political and economic background [as modifier]: background information
More example sentences
  • Due to the number of calls regarding this, I'm including a little background information on the situation.
  • These organizations emerged against the background of a deepening economic and political crisis and an increasing entrenchment of racism.
  • But the background information about Yao Ming's upbringing is fascinating.
circumstances, context, conditions, situation, environment, milieu, scene, scenario
2.1A person’s education, experience, and social circumstances: she has a background in nursing a mix of students from many different backgrounds
More example sentences
  • We're providing very little incentive for students from social and economically disadvantaged backgrounds to come into education.
  • We all have different sensitivities, social backgrounds, families and different experiences of discipline and violence in real life.
  • One of the main aims of this project is not just to widen the cohort of volunteers, but also to make sure that young people of different social backgrounds can come together in a common experience.
social circumstances, family circumstances;
environment, class, culture, tradition;
experience, record, history, past, training, education, grounding, knowledge;

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: back·ground

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