Did you know?

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

background

 - definition
 
 
 
Close

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.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
noun British English pronunciation: background /ˈbækˌɡraʊnd/ 
Word Forms
Close
singularbackground
pluralbackgrounds
  1. 1
    [countable] the type of family, social position, or culture that someone comes from

    students from very different backgrounds

    1. a.
      the type of career, training, or education that someone has had

      His musical background helps him a lot in his job.

      background in:

      We are looking for writers with a background in law.

  2. 2
    [singular/uncountable] the general situation in which something happens
    background of:

    The talks have been taking place against a background of increasing violence.

    1. a.
      information about what has happened in the past that helps you to understand the present situation

      Let me give you a bit of background about myself.

      background to:

      We need to know the background to the case.

      background information/knowledge/material:

      You'll need some background information on the local economy.

phrase

Word of the Day

disciple

someone who admires a famous person such as a political or religious leader and is influenced by...

Blog

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