Also called, especially British, back-cloth. Theater. the rear curtain of a stage setting.
the background of an event; setting.
Gymnastics. a maneuver in which a trampolinist jumps in the air, lands on the back with the arms and legs pointed upward, and then springs up to a standing position.
to provide a setting or background for:
A vast mountain range backdrops the broad expanse of lake.
Contemporary Examples

But the music, these days, is really more of a backdrop when it comes to Coachella.
Coachella, Oasis For Douchebags and Trust Fund Babies, Should Be Avoided At All Costs Marlow Stern April 11, 2014

The core of the story is set against the backdrop of the Iraq invasion, the buildup, and the immediate aftermath.
Newsweek Takedown From Beyond the Grave: Michael Hastings’s Fiction Tells the Truth Christopher Dickey June 17, 2014

Any glitches in the arrangements were easy to forgive against a backdrop of rubble.
Italy’s Wacky Host Barbie Latza Nadeau July 7, 2009

Amid this backdrop Sir John ordered the General Post Office (GPO) covertly to monitor the King’s telephone calls.
King Edward VIII’s Phone Was Bugged By His Own Government Tom Sykes May 22, 2013

This multisided power struggle is taking place against a backdrop of major political changes in Mogadishu as well.
Rebuilding Kismayo After Al-Shabab Laura Heaton December 8, 2012

Historical Examples

A low line of hills loomed beyond, painted of silver gray against the backdrop of starry sky and the pallor of moon mists.
The Tyranny of Weakness Charles Neville Buck

He recognized a backdrop he had seen thousands of times behind the announcer who introduced the news-casts.
Plague Ship Andre Norton

The green-sloped, snow-capped Bernardinoes form a backdrop for the desert underneath.
Test Pilot David Goodger (

She was raised for the most-part in Maine, which forms a backdrop to much of her fiction.
The Village Watch-Tower (AKA Kate Douglas Riggs) Kate Douglas Wiggin

Eyes the size of Navy dirigibles, with pupils of deep cerulean blue, floating against the backdrop of the gray cumulus.
Get Out of Our Skies! E. K. Jarvis

another name for backcloth
the background to any scene or situation

1913, in U.S. theatrical argot, from back (adj.) + drop (n.).


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