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3 definitions found
 for circumstances
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

      n 1: your overall circumstances or condition in life (including
           everything that happens to you); "whatever my fortune may
           be"; "deserved a better fate"; "has a happy lot"; "the luck
           of the Irish"; "a victim of circumstances"; "success that
           was her portion" [syn: fortune, destiny, fate,
           luck, lot, circumstances, portion]
      2: a person's financial situation (good or bad); "he found
         himself in straitened circumstances"

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  76 Moby Thesaurus words for "circumstances":
     affairs, alentours, ambience, ambit, assessed valuation, assets,
     assets and liabilities, borderlands, circle, circuit,
     circumambiencies, circumjacencies, compass, concerns,
     condition of things, conditions, context, current assets, dealings,
     deferred assets, doings, entourage, environing circumstances,
     environment, environs, existing conditions, fixed assets,
     frozen assets, full particulars, funds, gestalt, goings-on,
     habitat, ins and outs, intangible assets, intangibles, life,
     liquid assets, march of events, material assets, matters, means,
     milieu, neighborhood, net assets, net worth, outposts, outskirts,
     perimeter, periphery, precincts, proceedings, purlieus,
     quick assets, relations, resources, run of things,
     set of conditions, situation, state of affairs, status quo, stock,
     stock-in-trade, suburbs, surroundings, tangible assets, tangibles,
     the times, the world, total environment, total situation, vicinage,
     vicinity, wealth, what happens, whole picture

From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856) :

  CIRCUMSTANCES, evidence. The particulars which accompany a fact. 
       2. The facts proved are either possible or impossible, ordinary and 
  probable, or extraordinary and improbable, recent or ancient; they may have 
  happened near us, or afar off; they are public or private, permanent or 
  transitory, clear and simple, or complicated; they are always accompanied by 
  circumstances which more or less influence the mind in forming a judgment. 
  And in some instances these circumstances assume the character of 
  irresistible evidence; where, for example, a woman was found dead in a room, 
  with every mark of having met with a violent death, the presence of another 
  person at the scene of action was made manifest by the bloody mark of a left 
  hand visible on her left arm. 14 How. St. Tr. 1324. These points ought to be 
  carefully examined, in order to form a correct opinion. The first question 
  ought to be, is the fact possible ? If so, are there any circumstances which 
  render it impossible ? If the facts are impossible, the witness ought not to 
  be credited. If, for example, a man should swear that he saw the deceased 
  shoot himself with his own pistol, and upon an examination of the ball which 
  killed him, it should be found too large to enter into the pistol, the 
  witness ought not to be credited. 1 Stark. Ev. 505; or if one should swear 
  that another had been guilty of an impossible crime. 
       3. Toullier mentions a case, which, were it not for the ingenuity of 
  the counsel, would require an apology for its introduction here, on account 
  of its length. The case was this: La Veuve Veron brought an action against 
  M. de Morangies on some notes, which the defendant alleged were fraudulently 
  obtained, for the purpose of recovering 300,000 francs, and the question 
  was, whether the defendant had received the money. Dujonquai, the grandson 
  of the plaintiff, pretended he had himself, alone and on foot, carried this 
  sum in gold to the defendant, at his hotel at the upper end of the rue Saint 
  Jacques, in thirteen trips, between half past seven and about one o'clock, 
  that is, in about five hours and a half, or, at most, six hours. The fact 
  was improbable; Linquet, the counsel of the defendant, proved it was 
  impossible; and this is his argument: 
       4. Dujonquai said that he had divided the sum in thirteen bags, each 
  containing six hundred louis d'ors, and in twenty-three other bags, each 
  containing two hundred. There remained twenty-five louis to complete the 
  whole sum, which, Dujonquai said, he received from the defendant as a 
  gratuity. At each of 'these trips, he says, he put a bag, containing two 
  hundred louis, that is, about three pounds four ounces, in each of his coat 
  pockets, which, being made in the fashion of those times, hung about the 
  thighs, and in walking must have incommoded him and obstructed his speed; he 
  took, besides, a bag containing six hundred louis in his arms; by this means 
  his movements were impeded by a weight of near ten pounds. 
       5. The measured distance between the house where Dujonquai took the 
  bags to the foot of the stairs of the defendant, "as five hundred and 
  sixteen toises, which, multiplied by twenty-six, the thirteen trips going 
  and returning, make thirteen thousand four hundred and sixteen toises, that 
  is, more than five leagues and a half (near seventeen miles), of two 
  thousand four hundred toises, which latter distance is considered sufficient 
  for an hour's walk, of a good walker. Thus, if Dujonquai had been unimpeded 
  by any obstacle, he would barely have had time to perform the task in five 
  or six hours, even without taking any rest or refreshment. However strikingly
  improbable this may have been, it was not physically impossible. But 
       6.-1. Dujonquai, in going to the defendant's, had to descend sixty-
  three steps from his grandmother's, the plaintiff's chamber, and to ascend 
  twenty-seven to that of the defendant, in the whole, ninety steps. In 
  returning, the ascent and descent were changed, but the steps were the same; 
  so that by multiplying, by twenty-six, the number of trips going and 
  returning, it would be seen there were two thousand three hundred and forty 
  steps. Experience had proved that in ascending to the top of the tower of 
  Notre Dame (a church in Paris), where there are three hundred and eighty-
  nine steps, it occupied from eight to nine minutes of time. It must then 
  have taken an hour out of the five or six which had been employed in making 
  the thirteen trips. 
       7.-2. Dujonquai had to go up the rue Saint Jacques, which is very 
  steep; its ascent would necessarily decrease the speed of a man, burdened 
  and encumbered with the bags which he carried in his pockets and in his arms.
       8.-3. This street, which is very public, is usually, particularly in 
  the morning, encumbered by a multitude of persons going in every direction, 
  so that a person going along must make an infinite number of deviations from 
  a direct line; each by itself, is almost imperceptible, but at the end of 
  five or six hours, they make a considerable sum, which may be estimated at a 
  tenth part of the whole course in a straight line; this would make about 
  half a league, to be added to the five and a half leagues, which is the 
  distance in a direct line. 
       9.-4. On the morning that Dujonquai made these trips, the daily and 
  usual incumbrances of this street were increased by sixty or eighty workmen, 
  who were employed in removing by hand and with machine, an enormous stone, 
  intended for the church of Saint Genevieve, now the pantheon, and by the 
  immense crowd which this attracted; this was a remarkable circumstance, 
  which, supposing that Dujonquai had not yielded to the temptation of 
  stopping a few moments to see what was doing, must necessarily have impeded 
  his way, and made him lose seven or eight minutes each trip, which, 
  multiplied by twenty-six would make about two hours and a half. 
      10.-5. The, witness was obliged to open and shut the doors at the 
  defendant's house; it required time to take up the bags and place them in 
  his pockets, to take them out and put them on the defendant's table, who, by 
  an improbable supposition, counted the money in the intervals between the 
  trips, and not in the presence of the witness. Dujonquai, too, must have 
  taken receipts or acknowledgments at each trip, he must read them, and on 
  arriving at home, deposited them in some place of safety all these 
  distractions would necessarily occasion the loss of a few minutes. By adding 
  these with scrupulous nicety, and by further adding the time employed in 
  taking and depositing the bags, the opening and shutting of the doors, the 
  reception of the receipts, the time occupied in reading and putting them 
  away, the time consumed in several conversations, which he admitted he had 
  with persons in the street; all these joined to the obstacles above 
  mentioned, made it evident that it was physically impossible that Dujonquai 
  should have carried the 300,000 francs to the house of the defendant, as he 
  affirmed he had done. Toull. tom. 9, n. 241, p. 384. Vide, generally, 1 
  Stark. Ev. 502; 1 Phil. Ev. 116. See some curious cases of circumstantial 
  evidence in Alis. Pr. Cr. Law, 313, 314; and 2 Theorie des Lois Criminelles, 
  147, n.; 3 Benth. Jud. Ev. 94, 223; Harvey's Meditations on the Night, note 
  35; 1 Taylor's Med. Jur. 372; 14 How. St. Tr. 1324; Theory of Presumptive 
  Proof, passim; Best on Pres. SSSS 187, 188, 197. See Death; Presumption; 

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