A condition or fact attending an event and having some bearing on it; a determining or modifying factor: set out a day early because of favorable circumstances. The sum of determining factors beyond willful control: a victim of circumstance. Financial status or means:"Prior came of a good family, much reduced in circumstances"(George Sherburn). Formal display; ceremony: the pomp and circumstance of a coronation. A particular incident or occurrence: Your arrival was a fortunate circumstance.