Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

backdrop - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun [countable]     backdrop pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    everything that you can see behind the main thing you are looking at

    The lake and mountains provided a dazzling backdrop for the ceremony.

  2. 2
    the situation or place in which something happens

    Her new novel has 19th-century China as its backdrop.

    Negotiations were carried out against a backdrop of continued fighting.

Open Dictionary


a rise in the level of a stream or river

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play