AskDefine | Define background

Dictionary Definition



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: 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 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 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, scope]
7 (computer science) the area of the screen in graphical user interfaces against which icons and windows appear [syn: desktop, screen background]
8 scenery hung at back of stage [syn: backdrop, backcloth] v : understate the importance or quality of; "he played down his royal ancestry" [syn: play down, downplay] [ant: foreground, foreground]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. One's social heritage; what one did in the past/previously.
    The lawyer had a background in computer science.
  2. A part of the picture that depicts scenery to the rear or behind the main subject. Context.
  3. Information relevant to the current situation about past events; history.
  4. A less important feature of scenery (as opposed to foreground.)
    There was tons of noise in the background.
    The photographer let us pick a background for the portrait.
  5. : (Windows): The solid color that provides contrast with items (usually icons) appearing on it.
  6. : Activity on a computer that is not normally visible to the user
    The antivirus program is running in the background.


social heritage
  • Finnish: tausta
  • Hebrew: רקע (reqa)
  • Italian: formazione, istruzione
  • Portuguese: instrução
  • Spanish: formación
  • Vietnamese: Cơ sở
part of picture
  • French: arrière-plan
  • Hebrew: רקע (reqa)
  • Italian: sfondo
  • Japanese: 背景 (haikei)
  • Korean: 배경
  • Portuguese: fundo
  • Spanish: fondo
  • Finnish: taustatieto
  • Hebrew: רקע (reqa)
  • Italian: storia , antefatto
  • Japanese: 背景 (haikei)
  • Korean: 예비지식
  • Portuguese: antecedente
  • Spanish: antecedente
less important feature
Windows background color

Extensive Definition

The term background may refer to:
In art:
In computing:
  • Background (computer software), software that is running but not being displayed
  • Background, or desktop picture, is the image or colour displayed on a website or computer desktop behind the visible content
In philosophy of science:
In physics:
In imaging (photography, computer vision, medical imaging):
  • Background, the part of an image that lies outside the object(s) of interest captured by the image and which form the foreground.
In music:
In journalism it may also refer to:
background in French: Background

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

action, agora, amphitheater, anagnorisis, angle, architectonics, architecture, arena, argument, athletic field, atmosphere, auditorium, back, backdrop, background detail, backstage, bear garden, behind the scenes, blaseness, bowl, boxing ring, breeding, bull ring, campus, canvas, catastrophe, characterization, circus, cockpit, coliseum, color, colosseum, complication, continuity, contrivance, course, credentials, curriculum vitae, decorative composition, decorative style, denouement, design, detail, development, device, distance, episode, experience, fable, falling action, family, field, figure, floor, foil, foreground detail, form, forum, gimmick, ground, gym, gymnasium, hall, hinterland, hippodrome, history, horizon, in the background, incident, inconspicuous, line, lists, local color, locale, marketplace, mat, milieu, mise-en-scene, mood, motif, movement, mythos, national style, obscurity, offing, open forum, ornamental motif, palaestra, parade ground, past experience, pattern, period style, peripeteia, pit, place, plan, platform, plot, practical knowledge, practice, precinct, prize ring, public square, purlieu, range, rear, recognition, remote distance, repeated figure, ring, rising action, sagacity, scene, scene of action, scenery, scheme, seasoning, secondary plot, setting, site, slant, sophistication, sphere, squared circle, stadium, stage, stage set, stage setting, story, structure, style, subject, subplot, switch, tempering, terrain, the distance, theater, thematic development, theme, tilting ground, tiltyard, tone, topic, touch, training, twist, unnoticed, unobtrusive, unseen, upbringing, vanishing point, walk, worldly wisdom, wrestling ring
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