Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    A principal fact or event being the object of investigation, the circumstances are the related or acces-sery facts or occurrences which attend upon it, which closely precede or follow it, which surround and accompany it, which depend upon it or which support or qualify it. Pfaffenback v. Rallroad, 142 Ind. 246, 41 N. E. 530; Clare v. People, 9 Colo. 122, 10 Pac. 799. The terms "circumstance" and "fact" are, in many applications, synonymous; but the true distinction of a circumstance is its relative character. "Any fact may be a circumstance with reference to any other fact." 1 Benth. Jud. Evid. 42, note ; Id. 142. Thrift, integrity, good repute, business capacity, and stability of character, for example, are "circumstances" which may be very properly considered in determining the question of "adequate security." Martin v. Duke, 5 Redf. Sur. (N. Y.) 600.