Foreground vs. Background - What's the difference?

Wikipedia

  • Background

    In Technology: A wallpaper or background is a digital image used as a decorative background of a graphical user interface on the screen of a computer, mobile communications device or other electronic device

    The circumstances or situation prevailing at a particular time or underlying a particular event. i.e.
    "the political and economic background"

Wiktionary

  • Foreground (noun)

    The elements of an image which lie closest to the picture plane.

  • Foreground (noun)

    The subject of an image, often depicted at the bottom in a two-dimensional work.

  • Foreground (noun)

    the application the user is currently interacting with; the application window that appears in front of all others.

  • Foreground (verb)

    To place in the foreground (physically or metaphorically)

  • Background (adjective)

    Less important in a scene.

    "background noise."

  • Background (noun)

    One's social heritage, or previous life; what one did in the past.

    "The lawyer had a background in computer science."

  • Background (noun)

    A part of the picture that depicts scenery to the rear or behind the main subject; context.

  • Background (noun)

    Information relevant to the current situation about past events; history.

  • Background (noun)

    A less important feature of scenery (as opposed to foreground).

    "There was tons of noise in the background."

    "The photographer let us pick a background for the portrait."

  • Background (noun)

    The image or color over which a computer's desktop items are shown (e.g. icons or application windows).

  • Background (noun)

    A type of activity on a computer that is not normally visible to the user.

    "The antivirus program is running in the background."

  • Background (verb)

    To put in a position that is not prominent.

  • Background (verb)

    To gather and provide background information (on).

Oxford Dictionary

  • Background (noun)

    the part of a picture, scene, or design that forms a setting for the main figures or objects, or appears furthest from the viewer

    "the word is written in white on a red background"

    "the house stands against a background of sheltering trees"

  • Background (noun)

    a less important or conspicuous position or function

    "after that evening, she remained in the background"

  • Background (noun)

    used in reference to tasks or processes that do not need input from the user

    "programs can be left running in the background"

  • Background (noun)

    low-intensity radiation from radioisotopes present in the natural environment.

  • Background (noun)

    unwanted signals, such as noise in the reception or recording of sound.

  • Background (noun)

    the circumstances or situation prevailing at a particular time or underlying a particular event

    "the political and economic background"

    "background information"

  • Background (noun)

    a person's education, experience, and social circumstances

    "she has a background in nursing"

    "her voice suggested a tenacious, working-class background"

  • Background (verb)

    form a background to

    "windswept land backgrounded by the Rockies"

  • Background (verb)

    provide with background

    "the embassy backgrounded American reporters"

Webster Dictionary

  • Foreground (noun)

    On a painting, and sometimes in a bas-relief, mosaic picture, or the like, that part of the scene represented, which is nearest to the spectator, and therefore occupies the lowest part of the work of art itself. Cf. Distance, n., 6.

  • Background (noun)

    Ground in the rear or behind, or in the distance, as opposed to the foreground, or the ground in front.

  • Background (noun)

    The space which is behind and subordinate to a portrait or group of figures.

  • Background (noun)

    Anything behind, serving as a foil; as, the statue had a background of red hangings.

  • Background (noun)

    A place in obscurity or retirement, or out of sight.

  • Background (noun)

    The set of conditions within which an action takes place, including the social and physical conditions as well as the psychological states of the participants; as, within the background of the massive budget deficits of the 1980's, new spending programs had little chance of passage by the congress.

  • Background (noun)

    The set of conditions that precede and affect an action, such as the social and historical precedents for the event, as well as the general background{5}; as, against the background of their expulsion by the Serbs, the desire of Kosovars for vengeance is understandable though regrettable.

  • Background (noun)

    The signals that may be detected by a measurement which are not due to the phenomenon being studied, and tend to make the measurement uncertain to a greater or lesser degree.

  • Background (noun)

    An agreement between a journalist and an interviewee that the name of the interviewee will not be quoted in any publication, although the substance of the remarks may be reported; - often used in the phrase "on background". Compare deep background.

Princeton's WordNet

  • Foreground (noun)

    the part of a scene that is near the viewer

  • Foreground (noun)

    (computer science) a window for an active application

  • Foreground (verb)

    move into the foreground to make more visible or prominent;

    "The introduction highlighted the speaker's distinguished career in linguistics"

  • Background (noun)

    a person's social heritage: previous experience or training;

    "he is a lawyer with a sports background"

  • Background (noun)

    the part of a scene (or picture) that lies behind objects in the foreground;

    "he posed her against a background of rolling hills"

  • Background (noun)

    information that is essential to understanding a situation or problem;

    "the embassy filled him in on the background of the incident"

  • Background (noun)

    extraneous signals that can be confused with the phenomenon to be observed or measured;

    "they got a bad connection and could hardly hear one another over the background signals"

  • Background (noun)

    relatively unimportant or inconspicuous accompanying situation;

    "when the rain came he could hear the sound of thunder in the background"

  • Background (noun)

    the state of the environment in which a situation exists;

    "you can't do that in a university setting"

  • Background (noun)

    (computer science) the area of the screen in graphical user interfaces against which icons and windows appear

  • Background (noun)

    scenery hung at back of stage

  • Background (verb)

    understate the importance or quality of;

    "he played down his royal ancestry"

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