background

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in the background

In a (literal or figurative) place where someone or something is not very noticeable. I'm not the best dancer, so the director has put me in the background for most scenes. The more new people get hired, the more I feel ignored and lost in the background!
See also: background

into the background

Into a (literal or figurative) place where someone or something is not very noticeable. I'm going to move all of our less-experienced dancers into the background for this scene. The more new people get hired, the more I get pushed into the background and ignored!
See also: background

on background

For publication but without specific attribution of the source: The senator would only speak on background with the reporter about the crisis.
See also: background, on

on deep background

For publication without any attribution of the source.
See also: background, deep, on
References in classic literature ?
Except for the glazed rotunda part its long walls, divided into narrow panels separated by an order of flat pilasters, presented, depicted on a black background and in vivid colours, slender women with butterfly wings and lean youths with narrow birds' wings.
A second glance showed him that the more masculine fittings were quite recent, and that the more feminine background was quite old.
His head was immovable; nor did he betray the slightest consciousness that any were present, except when his haughty eye rolled toward the dusky forms of the warriors, who stalked in the background silent and sullen observers of the scene.
All the sounds of man, the bleating of sheep, the cries of birds, the hum of insects, the stir that makes the background of our lives--all that was over.
What is to be done with the millions of facts that bear witness that men, consciously, that is fully understanding their real interests, have left them in the background and have rushed headlong on another path, to meet peril and danger, compelled to this course by nobody and by nothing, but, as it were, simply disliking the beaten track, and have obstinately, wilfully, struck out another difficult, absurd way, seeking it almost in the darkness.
The keeper would leave me in the background, and take all the glory to himself.
There are no features to this land, no conspicuous, far-famed landmarks for the eye; there is nothing so far down to tell you of the greatest agglomeration of mankind on earth dwelling no more than five and twenty miles away, where the sun sets in a blaze of colour flaming on a gold background, and the dark, low shores trend towards each other.
The wild glare of these enormous flambeaux, lighting up with a startling brilliancy the innermost recesses of the vale, and seen moving rapidly along beneath the canopy of leaves, the savage shout of the excited messengers sounding the news of their approach, which was answered on all sides, and the strange appearance of their naked bodies, seen against the gloomy background, produced altogether an effect upon my mind that I shall long remember.
She philosophically noted dates as they came past in the revolution of the year; the disastrous night of her undoing at Trantridge with its dark background of The Chase; also the dates of the baby's birth and death; also her own birthday; and every other day individualized by incidents in which she had taken some share.
Opposite them, at the extremity of the long hail, they could see a vaguely white point standing out against the sombre background.
The background of nearly all was the sky by night, the dark night of the soul, with wild clouds swept by strange winds of hell and lit luridly by an uneasy moon.
At the bend of the Danube, vessels, an island, and a castle with a park surrounded by the waters of the confluence of the Enns and the Danube became visible, and the rocky left bank of the Danube covered with pine forests, with a mystic background of green treetops and bluish gorges.
Scenes which make vital changes in our neighbors' lot are but the background of our own, yet, like a particular aspect of the fields and trees, they become associated for us with the epochs of our own history, and make a part of that unity which lies in the selection of our keenest consciousness.
This indispensable intellectual process, which will be relished by admirers of George Eliot, is relieved constantly by the sense of a charming landscape background, for the most part English.
Nor shall I say more of the silent figure in the background, always in the background, always near my mother.