- the ground or parts, as of a scene, situated in the rear (opposed to foreground).
- Fine Arts.
- the part of a painted or carved surface against which represented objects and forms are perceived or depicted: a portrait against a purple background.
- the part of an image represented as being at maximum distance from the frontal plane.
- one’s origin, education, experience, etc., in relation to one’s present character, status, etc.
- the social, historical, and other antecedents or causes of an event or condition: the background of the war.
- the complex of physical, cultural, and psychological factors that serves as the environment of an event or experience; the set of conditions against which an occurrence is perceived.
- Physics. the totality of effects that tend to obscure a phenomenon under investigation and above which the phenomenon must be detected.
- Telecommunications. (in an electronic device for transmitting or receiving signals) the sum of the effects, as noise or random signals, from which a phenomenon must differentiate itself in character or degree in order to be detected.
- of, relating to, or serving as a background: background noise.
verb (used with object)
- to supply a background to: The passenger’s idle thoughts were backgrounded by the drone of the plane’s engines.
- to supply a background of information for: To background themselves, reporters dug through all available files on the case.
- in/into the background, unobtrusive; inconspicuous; out of sight or notice; in or into obscurity: He kept his dishonest dealings in the background.
- the part of a scene or view furthest from the viewer
- an inconspicuous or unobtrusive position (esp in the phrase in the background)
- (as modifier)a background influence
- a person’s social class, education, training, or experience
- the social, historical, or technical circumstances that lead up to or help to explain somethingthe background to the French Revolution
- (as modifier)background information
- a low level of sound, lighting, etc, whose purpose is to be an unobtrusive or appropriate accompaniment to something else, such as a social activity, conversation, or the action of a film
- (as modifier)background music
- Also called: background radiation physics low-intensity radiation as, for example, from small amounts of radioisotopes in soil, air, building materials, etc
- unwanted effects, such as noise, occurring in a measuring instrument, electronic device, etc
- (as modifier)background interference