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Related to on background: Journalism sourcing
Of information used in a news story, allowed to be published but only on conditions negotiated by the source, typically resulting in anonymity. The presidential aide agreed to give a statement to reporters on background.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
For publication but without specific attribution of the source: The senator would only speak on background with the reporter about the crisis.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.