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From back +‎ drop.


  • IPA(key): /ˈbæk.dɹɒp/
  • (file)


backdrop (plural backdrops)

  1. A decorated cloth hung at the back of a stage.
  2. An image that serves as a visual background.
    • 2006 September 11, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “Bush Mourns 9/11 at Ground Zero as N.Y. Remembers”, in New York Times[1]:
      The president spoke outside the brick exterior of the firehouse for Ladder Company 10 and Engine Company 10, against the backdrop of a 56-foot-long bronze bas-relief depicting the towers in flames.
    • 2008, Guy W. Lecky-Thompson, Video Game Design Revealed, page 12:
      Animated, seemingly varied crowd movement will place a game in the early 1990s, while static crowd backdrops and blocky, sprite-based athletes tend to point toward technology used in the 1980s.
  3. The setting or background of an acted performance.
    • 2012 May 9, John Percy, “Birmingham City 2 Blackpool 2 (2-3 on agg): match report”, in the Telegraph[2]:
      Blackpool’s aggregate victory ensures Birmingham are now preparing for a potential summer of change. Manager Chris Hughton has been operating against a backdrop of financial uncertainty all season and last night Peter Pannu, the vice-chairman, announced that the club’s accounts would finally be published next week, and that a new investor had been identified.
    • 2012 November 13, European Court of Human Rights, M. M. v. The United Kingdom[3], number 24029/07, marginal 171:
      Specifically on the question of Article 8 considerations, the Court of Appeal expressed the view that it was difficult to see how a chief constable’s decision to disclose [the applicant’s charges to the employer] could ever be challenged (see paragraph 81 above). The Court observes that the case was decided against the backdrop of a clearly-defined legislative framework (i.e., the 1997 Act, which was in force in England and Wales at the time) which the court took to be in compliance with Article 8 (see paragraph 78 above).
    • 2016 February 6, James Zogby, “Israel’s prickliness blocks the long quest for peace”, in The National[4]:
      All of this heightened hyper-reaction to criticism plays out against a backdrop of dangerous moves by Israel and its supporters in the US to not only defame and politically punish critics and in some instances to go further by making criticism illegal.
  4. (figurative) Any background situation.
    Against a backdrop of falling interest rates, the new savings account is looking less appealing.
    • 2021 October 20, Philip Haigh, “RDG lauches voluntary redundancy scheme”, in RAIL, number 942, page 9:
      Against this backdrop, RDG said it needed to "review historic working practices so that the railway can respond to changing passenger needs and enable future growth".



backdrop (third-person singular simple present backdrops, present participle backdropping, simple past and past participle backdropped)

  1. (transitive) To serve as a backdrop for.
    a brilliant sunset backdropping the famous skyline