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background

2 definitions found

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:

background \back"ground'\, noun [Back, adjective + ground.]

1. Ground in the rear or behind, or in the distance, as opposed to the {foreground}, or the ground in front.

2. (Paint.) The space which is behind and subordinate to a portrait or group of figures.

Note: The distance in a picture is usually divided into foreground, middle distance, and background. --Fairholt.

3. Anything behind, serving as a foil; as, the statue had a background of red hangings.

4. A place in obscurity or retirement, or out of sight.

I fancy there was a background of grinding and waiting before Miss Torry could produce this highly finished . . . performance. --Mrs. Alexander.

A husband somewhere in the background. --Thackeray.

5. The set of conditions within which an action takes place, including the social and physical conditions as well as the psychological states of the participants; as, within the background of the massive budget deficits of the 1980's, new spending programs had little chance of passage by the congress. [PJC]

6. The set of conditions that precede and affect an action, such as the social and historical precedents for the event, as well as the general background[5]; as, against the background of their expulsion by the Serbs, the desire of Kosovars for vengeance is understandable though regrettable. [PJC]

7. (Science) The signals that may be detected by a measurement which are not due to the phenomenon being studied, and tend to make the measurement uncertain to a greater or lesser degree. Specifically: (Physics) Electronic noise present in a system using electronic measuring instrument or in a telecommunications system, which may hide and which must be differentiated from the desired signal; also called background noise or {noise}. [PJC]

8. (Journalism) An agreement between a journalist and an interviewee that the name of the interviewee will not be quoted in any publication, although the substance of the remarks may be reported; -- often used in the phrase "on background". Compare {deep background}. [PJC]

{To place in the background}, to make of little consequence.

{To keep in the background}, to remain unobtrusive, inconspicuous or out of sight; -- of people.

{deep background}, (Journalism) the status of an interview which must not be quoted in a publication, even without attribution. Compare {background}[8]. [1913 Webster +PJC]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:

background

noun

1: a person's social heritage: previous experience or training; "he is a lawyer with a sports background"

2: the part of a scene (or picture) that lies behind objects in the foreground; "he posed her against a background of rolling hills" [syn: {background}, {ground}]

3: information that is essential to understanding a situation or problem; "the embassy filled him in on the background of the incident" [syn: {background}, {background knowledge}]

4: extraneous signals that can be confused with the phenomenon to be observed or measured; "they got a bad connection and could hardly hear one another over the background signals" [syn: {background}, {background signal}]

5: relatively unimportant or inconspicuous accompanying situation; "when the rain came he could hear the sound of thunder in the background"

6: the state of the environment in which a situation exists; "you can't do that in a university setting" [syn: {setting}, {background}, {scope}]

7: (computer science) the area of the screen in graphical user interfaces against which icons and windows appear [syn: {background}, {desktop}, {screen background}]

8: scenery hung at back of stage [syn: {backdrop}, {background}, {backcloth}]

verb

1: understate the importance or quality of; "he played down his royal ancestry" [syn: {background}, {play down}, {downplay}] [ant: {foreground}, {highlight}, {play up}, {spotlight}]

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Definitions retrieved from the Open Source DICT English and WordNet 3.0 dictionaries. Click here for database copyright information.

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