Etymology
Advertisement
background (n.)
"the ground or situation to the rear of what is in front or most engaging of the attention," 1670s, from back (adj.) + ground (n.); original sense was theatrical, later applied to painting ("part of a picture representing what is furthest from the spectator"), 1752. Figurative sense is first attested 1854.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
backstory (n.)
c. 1990, from background story.
Related entries & more 
ahistoric (adj.)
"not historical, lacking in historical background or justification," 1911, from a- (2) "not" + historic.
Related entries & more 
Tex-Mex (adj.)
by 1914, from Texas + Mexico. An earlier noun for "Texan of Mexican background" was Texican (1863).
Related entries & more 
grounding (n.)
late 14c., "action of establishing," verbal noun from ground (v.). Meaning "instruction in fundamentals" is from 1640s. Sense of "background of a design" is from 1882.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
self-effacing (adj.)

"keeping out of sight or in the background," 1836, from self- + effacing (see efface). Self-effacement is recorded from 1838.

Related entries & more 
Muzak (n.)

1935, proprietary name for piped music, supposedly a blend of music and Kodak, said to have been coined by Gen. George Squier (1865-1934), who, among his other important inventions, developed the system of background music for workplaces c. 1922.

Related entries & more 
figurante (n.)
"one who dances in the 'figures' of the ballet" (in troops and as background for soloists), 1775, from French figurante, noun use of fem. past participle of figurer (from Latin figurare "to form, shape," from PIE root *dheigh- "to form, build"). In some cases perhaps from Italian figurante.
Related entries & more 
incidental (adj.)
"casual, occurring casually in connection with something else; of minor importance," 1640s, from Medieval Latin incidentalis, from incidens (see incident (n.)). The earlier adjective in this sense was incident (1520s). Incidentals (n.) "'occasional' expenses, etc.," is attested by 1707. Incidental music "background music," originally in operas, is from 1812.
Related entries & more 
Nephilim 

Biblical offspring of the "sons of God" and the "daughters of men" before the Flood; of uncertain and much-disputed etymology.

The only obvious meaning of this Hebrew term is "fallen ones" — perhaps, those who have come down from the realm of the gods; but then the word might conceivably reflect an entirely different, un-Hebraic background. [Robert Alter, "The Five Books of Moses," 2004]
Related entries & more