Backdrop, Background

“More advice: if your message is to be printed, use high-quality paper to maximize the contrast between characters and their background. If you colour, you are more likely to be believed if your text is printed in bright blue or red than in middling shades of green, yellow or pale blue.” – Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

Background checks are essential aspects of arranged marriages in Oriental cultures. The parents of the girl and the boy would ensure their backgrounds are tasteful to their social (caste, clan, region, religion among others) and economic (low-, middle- or high-income) status. In the backdrop of digital India, background checks of brides and grooms on matrimonial sites are increasingly common.

Is there a difference between backdrop and background? Yes. There is a difference between backdrop and background but there is also common meaning between the two words.

Backdrop means scenery, a backcloth which is hung at the back of a stage or theatre, a painted cloth hung across the rear of a stage, a setting for something which could be artificial, a natural setting such as the background which could also be a historical event and political upheavals of a society or country. Examples:

The backdrops of Michael Jackson’s songs were varied, colourful and glitzy.

Movie makers give importance to the backdrops especially for song-scenes in Bollywood and Tollywood.

“Today the formation (the Chimney Rock in southwestern California) is a well-known archaeological site and tourist destination and provides for backdrop for Native American and cultural gatherings.” —National Geographic’s Special Edition Sacred Journeys December 2010

Against the backdrop of stunning Lutyen’s Delhi, some scenes of New Delhi, the Malayalam conspiracy thriller, were filmed.


Background is a noun like backdrop, and it has more than five meanings.

Background and backdrop are not interchangeable words but they do share one meaning in common. Which is part of a view, setting, the scenery or ground behind something, scene, description forming a setting for chief objects, people, etc – in this sense background and backdrop can be used interchangeably.


The backdrop (background) in the Western (cowboy) movies reflect the landscape of the USA.

The background (backdrop) in the photo studios are sometimes creative i.e. the backdrops or background scenes can be Himalayas or Eiffel Tower or Ayer’s Rock or India Gate!

The other meanings of background are: Someone who is not in the limelight, unobtrusive, inconspicuous, and not in the centre of some event.

The background music is a key element in a movie to evoke the attention of audience.

Background information: A person is recruited to an intelligence agency only after background checks are done. Background information refers to a person’s upbringing, social class, education, environment, milieu, etc. Information needed to understand a problem, a situation, state of affairs of a firm or country.

Do people prefer to hide their social or financial or personal background?

Can you give me more background on the company’s financial position, please?

Opposite of foreground is background.

“The chapters that make up this book didn’t just happen. These were a part of my destiny, especially when I look back at my life and see what shaped my views. For this, you need to understand my background and my relationship with India, a country that has given me so much.” WHAT YOUND INDIA WANTS: Selected Essays and Columns by Chetan Bhagat

Sikkim Central University in Gangtok, the state capital of Sikkim in northeastern India, has various buildings. They are located in the natural backdrop of Himalayan hills. Students come to study from various backgrounds across northeast and beyond because of its backdrop, also.