Definitions for backgroundˈbækˌgraʊnd

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word background

Princeton's WordNet

  1. background(noun)

    a person's social heritage: previous experience or training

    "he is a lawyer with a sports background"

  2. background, ground(noun)

    the part of a scene (or picture) that lies behind objects in the foreground

    "he posed her against a background of rolling hills"

  3. background, background knowledge(noun)

    information that is essential to understanding a situation or problem

    "the embassy filled him in on the background of the incident"

  4. background, background signal(noun)

    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"

  5. background(noun)

    relatively unimportant or inconspicuous accompanying situation

    "when the rain came he could hear the sound of thunder in the background"

  6. setting, background, scope(noun)

    the state of the environment in which a situation exists

    "you can't do that in a university setting"

  7. background, desktop, screen background(noun)

    (computer science) the area of the screen in graphical user interfaces against which icons and windows appear

  8. backdrop, background, backcloth(verb)

    scenery hung at back of stage

  9. background, play down, downplay(verb)

    understate the importance or quality of

    "he played down his royal ancestry"


  1. background(Noun)

    One's social heritage; what one did in the past/previously.

    The lawyer had a background in computer science.

  2. background(Noun)

    A part of the picture that depicts scenery to the rear or behind the main subject; context.

  3. background(Noun)

    Information relevant to the current situation about past events; history.

  4. background(Noun)

    A less important feature of scenery (as opposed to foreground.)

  5. background(Noun)

    The image or color, over which a computer's desktop items are show (e.g. icons or application windows).

  6. background(Noun)

    Activity on a computer that is not normally visible to the user

    The antivirus program is running in the background.

  7. background(Verb)

    To put in a position that is not prominent

Webster Dictionary

  1. Background(noun)

    ground in the rear or behind, or in the distance, as opposed to the foreground, or the ground in front

  2. Background(noun)

    the space which is behind and subordinate to a portrait or group of figures

  3. Background(noun)

    anything behind, serving as a foil; as, the statue had a background of red hangings

  4. Background(noun)

    a place in obscurity or retirement, or out of sight

The New Hacker's Dictionary

  1. background

    [common] To do a task in background is to do it whenever foreground matters are not claiming your undivided attention, and to background something means to relegate it to a lower priority. “For now, we'll just print a list of nodes and links; I'm working on the graph-printing problem in background.” Note that this implies ongoing activity but at a reduced level or in spare time, in contrast to mainstream ‘back burner’ (which connotes benign neglect until some future resumption of activity). Some people prefer to use the term for processing that they have queued up for their unconscious minds (a tack that one can often fruitfully take upon encountering an obstacle in creative work). Compare amp off, slopsucker.Technically, a task running in background is detached from the terminal where it was started (and often running at a lower priority); oppose foreground. Nowadays this term is primarily associated with Unix, but it appears to have been first used in this sense on OS/360.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'background' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1709

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'background' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1685

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'background' in Nouns Frequency: #678

Translations for background

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • خلفيةArabic
  • заден план, фонBulgarian
  • antecedents, bagatge, fonsCatalan, Valencian
  • pozadíCzech
  • Hintergrund, SchreibtischhintergrundGerman
  • segundo plano, fondo, antecedente, formaciónSpanish
  • پس‌زمینهPersian
  • tausta, taustakuva, taustaväri, historia, taustatietoFinnish
  • arrière-plan, histoire, passé, milieu, antécédents, historique, tâche de fond, en arrière-plan, fond, fond d'écranFrench
  • cúlraIrish
  • cùl-fhiosrachadhScottish Gaelic
  • רקעHebrew
  • háttérHungarian
  • խորք, նախագիտելիքArmenian
  • secondo piano, formazione, retaggio, sfondo, istruzione, sottofondo, storia, bagaglio culturale, legato, antefatto, in sordinaItalian
  • バックグラウンド, 背景Japanese
  • 배경, 예비지식, 바탕색, 백그라운드Korean
  • dalszy plan, kontekst, doświadczenie, drugi plan, tło, tapetaPolish
  • plano de fundo, histórico, segundo plano, antecedente, fundo, experiência, instrução, formaçãoPortuguese
  • бэкграунд, фон, предыстория, предпосылка, происхождение, задний план, подоплёка, контекст, образование, фоновый режим, подготовкаRussian
  • pretpovijest, kontekstSerbo-Croatian
  • bakgrund, bakgrundsbild, skrivbordsbakgrundSwedish
  • geçmişTurkish
  • cơ sở, nền, hình nền, bối cảnhVietnamese
  • erî-planWalloon

Get even more translations for background »


Find a translation for the background definition in other languages:

Select another language:

Discuss these background definitions with the community:

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:     


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"background." STANDS4 LLC, 2015. Web. 8 Oct. 2015. <>.

Are we missing a good definition for background? Don't keep it to yourself...

Nearby & related entries:

Alternative searches for background:

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.