Definition of background in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbakɡraʊnd/


1The part of a picture, scene, or design that forms a setting for the main figures or objects, or appears furthest from the viewer: the house stands against a background of sheltering trees the word is written in white on a red background
surrounding(s), backdrop, backcloth, framework;
setting, surround, framework
in the distance, on the horizon
1.1A less important or conspicuous position or function: after that evening, she 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.
behind the scenes, out of the public eye, out of the spotlight, out of the limelight, backstage;
inconspicuous, unobtrusive, unnoticed
1.2 Computing Used in reference to tasks or processes 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.
1.3 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.
1.4Unwanted 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, framework, atmosphere;
factors, influences;
2.1A person’s education, experience, and social circumstances: she has a background in nursing her voice suggested a tenacious, working-class background
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;
upbringing, rearing
experience, record, history, past, training, education, grounding, knowledge;
qualifications, credentials;
Latin curriculum vitae


[with object]
1Form a background to: windswept land backgrounded by the Rockies
More example sentences
  • And in the big sparse invisible drops that fall early, with no wind, the new rice dances jade and silver, backgrounded by a slanting late summer afternoon rain by Hokusai.
  • The back cover, with what looks at first sight like a grainy shot of her as a poet-movie star is backgrounded by text.
  • Here the split images, paralleling, fore- and backgrounding of the original dancers with the current ensemble, acted more as a commentary on the passage of time.
2Provide with background: the embassy backgrounded American reporters
More example sentences
  • I still cringe at the memory of a gag I made on a policy while backgrounding a journalist before an interview that was turned into a very barbed question for my boss.
  • It's no surprise that one is the first wife; she was out in the media in December and she's been backgrounding journalists ever since.
  • The magazine has a good article backgrounding a politician's use of internet networking.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: back|ground

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