background Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “background” in the English Dictionary

"background" in British English

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backgroundnoun

uk   /ˈbæk.ɡraʊnd/  us   /ˈbæk.ɡraʊnd/
  • 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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backgroundadjective [before noun]

uk   /ˈbæk.ɡraʊnd/  us   /ˈbæk.ɡraʊnd/
(Definition of background from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"background" in American English

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backgroundnoun

 us   /ˈbækˌɡrɑʊnd/
  • background noun (THINGS BEHIND)

[C/U] things that appear to be farther away or behind what is nearer or in front, esp. in a picture: [C] He photographed the models against different backgrounds. [U] With so much noise in the background, I couldn’t hear what she was saying. [C] The city’s skyline was our background.
[C/U] A background can also be whatever is happening around you but not involving you directly: Worry was always part of the background.
art [C/U] In a painting or a story, the background is the people and things that are less important and not the main subject.
  • background noun (EXPERIENCE)

[C] the things that have made you into the person you are, esp. family, experience, and education: The school has students from many different backgrounds.
[C] An event’s background is facts or history that help to explain how or why it happened: To understand the war, we need to consider its historical and political background.
(Definition of background from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"background" in Business English

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backgroundnoun

uk   us   /ˈbækɡraʊnd/
[C] HR the type of experience, training, education, etc. that a person has: We have applicants from many different types of background. As well as a sound background in economics and statistics, the candidate must demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively. educational/professional backgroundeconomics/science, etc. background Applicants must have a strong engineering background.
[S or U] the set of conditions that existed before a particular event, or information about them which helps to explain the event: So Deborah, why don't you give us a little background on the situation?
[U] IT a computer feature that allows processes to continue without interrupting the user: Keep your firewall and antivirus programs running in the background.
(Definition of background from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“background” in American English

“background” in Business English

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