back·ground

back·ground
/ˈbækˌgraʊnd/ noun, pl -grounds
1 [count]
1 a : the part of a scene or picture that is farthest from the viewer : the part of a scene that is behind a main figure or object in a painting, photograph, etc.

Objects in the foreground are drawn larger than those in the background.

a photograph of a house with mountains in the background

The mountains provided a perfect background [=backdrop] for the wedding photos.

background scenery

1 b : a surface or color that is behind or around something (such as a printed design)

red letters printed on a white background

a background color

2 [singular]
2 a : a position that attracts little attention

He was a shy man who always tried to keep/stay in the background. [=tried to avoid attracting attention]

The war has pushed all other issues into the background. [=has made all other issues less important]

An ethnic conflict that was simmering away in the background finally erupted into civil war.

2 b
— used to describe something that occurs without requiring attention while something else is also occurring

The software was automatically updated in the background while we continued to work on the data.

2 c
— used to describe something that is heard while something else is being listened to

It was hard to enjoy the music because I could hear a dog barking in the background.

3 a [count] : the events and conditions that help to explain why something happens : the situation in which something occurs
— usually singular

We learned about the social and economic background of the American Civil War.

The meetings took place against a background of increasing tension.

3 b [noncount] : information needed to understand a problem or situation

Let me provide you with some background on this problem.

— often used before another noun

background information

4 [count] : the experiences, knowledge, education, etc., in a person's past

What is your academic background?

We need to know more about his background before we hire him.

He and his wife come from similar social backgrounds. [=they were raised in similar social environments]

His writing is influenced by his ethnic background.

— often used before another noun

They ran a background check to make sure the job candidate had no criminal record.


Useful english dictionary. 2012.

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