English dictionary

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English noun: background

1. background (attribute) a person's social heritage: previous experience or training

SamplesHe is a lawyer with a sports background.

Broader (hypernym)heritage, inheritance

2. background (cognition) the part of a scene (or picture) that lies behind objects in the foreground

SamplesHe posed her against a background of rolling hills.


Broader (hypernym)aspect, panorama, prospect, scene, view, vista

3. background (cognition) information that is essential to understanding a situation or problem

SamplesThe embassy filled him in on the background of the incident.

Synonymsbackground knowledge

Broader (hypernym)information

4. background (event) extraneous signals that can be confused with the phenomenon to be observed or measured

SamplesThey got a bad connection and could hardly hear one another over the background signals.

Synonymsbackground signal

Broader (hypernym)disturbance, interference, noise

Narrower (hyponym)background noise, background radiation, ground noise

5. background (event) relatively unimportant or inconspicuous accompanying situation

SamplesWhen the rain came he could hear the sound of thunder in the background.

Broader (hypernym)accompaniment, attendant, co-occurrence, concomitant

6. background (state) the state of the environment in which a situation exists

SamplesYou can't do that in a university setting.

Synonymsscope, setting

Broader (hypernym)environment

Narrower (hyponym)canvas, canvass, show window, showcase

7. background (artifact) (computer science) the area of the screen in graphical user interfaces against which icons and windows appear

Synonymsdesktop, screen background

Broader (hypernym)CRT screen, screen

Domain categorycomputer science, computing

8. background (artifact) scenery hung at back of stage

Synonymsbackcloth, backdrop

Broader (hypernym)scene, scenery

English verb: background

1. background (change) understate the importance or quality of

SamplesHe played down his royal ancestry.

Synonymsdownplay, play down

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Something ----s something

Broader (hypernym)accent, accentuate, emphasise, emphasize, punctuate, stress

Narrower (hyponym)soft-pedal, wave off

Antonymsforeground, highlight, play up, spotlight

Based on WordNet 3.0 copyright © Princeton University.
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