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English definition of “background”

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background

noun uk   /ˈbæk.ɡraʊnd/ us  

background noun (PICTURE)

B2 [C] the things that can be seen behind the main things or people in a picture: The artist himself did not paint the backgrounds to his pictures - they were done by his pupils. He has photographed her against lots of different backgrounds. They were filmed against a background of dark fir trees. The book's cover has white lettering on a blue background. The little figure that you can just see in the background of the photograph is me.
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background noun (SOUND)

B2 [S] sounds that can be heard behind other sounds that are louder: If you listen carefully to this piece of music, you can hear a flute in the background. We couldn't hear what they were saying on the tape - there was too much background noise.
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background noun (SITUATION)

B2 [S or U] the conditions that existed before a particular event happened, and that help to explain why it happened: These decisions have had to be made against a background of high unemployment. Can you give me some background on (= information about the conditions that existed before) the situation?the background C2 If someone or something is in the background, they are not the main point of attention: Her worries about her job have faded into the background since she learned about her father's illness.

background noun (FAMILY EXPERIENCE)

B1 [C] your family and your experience of education, living conditions, money, etc.: The school has students from many different ethnic/cultural/religious backgrounds. They come from a privileged/wealthy background. a background in publishing
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background

adjective [before noun] uk   /ˈbæk.ɡraʊnd/ us  
used to refer to something that is done before, and in preparation for, something else: Students are expected to do some background reading before the course starts. The book provides background information on the history of the region.
(Definition of background from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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