Did you know?

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

Words used to describe situations and circumstances

circumstantial

adjective

relating to a particular circumstance

contextual

adjective

connected with a particular context

effective

adjective

used for saying what the situation really is, although its appearance or official description might be different

effectively

adverb

used for saying what the situation really is, although its appearance or official description might be different

face to face

adverb

in a situation where you are forced to deal directly with a problem

fateful

adjective

a fateful action, event, or time is one that has an important and usually bad effect on what happens in the future

be better/worse off

adjective, adverb, preposition

to be in a situation that is better/worse for you than another one

paradise

noun

a perfect place or situation

paradise

noun

a place that has everything that a particular type of person might want

situated

adjective

in a particular situation, especially a financial one

undecided

adjective

if a situation, problem, issue, etc. is undecided, no one has solved it or made a decision about it

unique

adjective

only existing or happening in one place or situation

unsettled

adjective

something such as a problem or argument that is unsettled has not been dealt with successfully

unsteady

adjective

not regular, calm, or normal

unsustainable

adjective

not capable of continuing at the same rate or level

wrong

adjective

if there is something wrong, there is a problem

circumstantially

adverb

all’s well that ends well

used for saying that a situation that did not start in a good way has ended in a way that is satisfactory or pleasing

even if

used for emphasizing that although something may happen or may be true, another situation remains the same

far from

used for saying that the real situation is the opposite of what you mention

for all practical purposes

in fact: used for describing the actual effect of a situation

forget it

used for telling someone that the situation is completely different from what they think

had someone/something done something...

used for saying that something would have happened if the situation had been different

if it were not for

used for saying what prevents the situation from being different

if worse/worst comes to worst

used for saying what you will do if the worst thing that could happen does happen

in any case

whatever the situation is or will be

in a perfect world

used for saying what would happen if the situation was exactly the way that you wanted it to be

in either event

if either of two things happens or is true

in reality

used for saying that the true situation is different from what has been said or thought

in the/someone’s scheme of things

used for saying how a particular person, organization, event, etc. relates to the more general situation

in someone’s place

used for talking about what you would do if you were in the same situation as someone else

in someone’s shoes

in the situation that someone else is in

in the event of/that

used for saying what will happen in a particular situation

it’s getting to the stage/point where...

used for saying that a situation has reached a very bad stage

month by month

used for emphasizing the progress that a situation is making

on the boil

if a situation or feeling is on the boil, it is very strong or a lot of people are talking about it

on the other side of the fence

in a completely different situation or position from the one you are used to

on the whole

used for talking about the general situation

or else

used for stating the second of two possibilities

as it is/as it turns out

used for saying what the situation really is when something different might have happened

by/through force of circumstances

because of the situation that you are in, which forces you to do a particular thing

if/when the occasion arises

if/when a particular situation happens

like/hate/love etc. it when

used for saying that you like, hate, etc. a particular type of situation or experience

something is up

used for saying that something is wrong or something bad is happening

that’s the way the cookie crumbles

used for saying that you must accept a situation that you do not like because you cannot change it

the plot thickens

used for saying that a situation is becoming more complicated or mysterious

the shoe is on the other foot

used for saying that one person is now in the situation that another person was in before

the tail wagging the dog

used for saying that a situation is stupid because something important is being decided or controlled by something less important

watch this space

used for telling someone that the situation is still developing and that you will provide more information soon

solutionism

the belief that every problem has a solution based in technology

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

chicken raffle

any random process, such as a competition in which a name is drawn from a hat

add a word

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