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February 01, 2015

Word of the Day

  • ambient
  • audio pronunciation
  • \AM-bee-unt\
  • DEFINITION

adjective

: existing or present on all sides : encompassing 2 of electronic music : quiet and relaxing with melodies that repeat many times

  • EXAMPLE

The chemicals must be kept at an ambient temperature of 70 degrees.

"Liz Harris summons a wounded sound that suggests that ambient music, despite its intangibility, should be memorable." — The Washington Post, December 28, 2014

  • DID YOU KNOW?

Biologists explore the effects of ambient light on plants; acoustics experts try to control ambient sound; and meteorologists study ambient pressure, air, or temperature. All this can make ambient seem like a technical term, but when it first saw light of day, that all-encompassing adjective was as likely to be used in poetry as in science. John Milton used it in Paradise Lost, and Alexander Pope wrote of a mountain "whose tow'ring summit ambient clouds conceal'd." Both poets and scientists who use ambient owe a debt to the Latin verb ambire, meaning "to go around," the grandparent of our English word.

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