environment

noun
en·​vi·​ron·​ment | \ in-ˈvī-rə(n)-mənt How to pronounce environment (audio) , -ˈvī(-ə)r(n)- How to pronounce environment (audio) \

Definition of environment

1 : the circumstances, objects, or conditions by which one is surrounded
2a : the complex of physical, chemical, and biotic factors (such as climate, soil, and living things) that act upon an organism or an ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival
b : the aggregate of social and cultural conditions that influence the life of an individual or community
3 : the position or characteristic position of a linguistic element in a sequence
4 : a computer interface from which various tasks can be performed a programming environment

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Other Words from environment

environmental \ in-​ˌvī-​rə(n)-​ˈmen-​tᵊl How to pronounce environment (audio) , -​ˌvī(-​ə)r(n)-​ \ adjective
environmentally \ in-​ˌvī-​rə(n)-​ˈmen-​tᵊl-​ē How to pronounce environment (audio) , -​ˌvī(-​ə)r(n)-​ \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for environment

background, setting, environment, milieu, mise-en-scène mean the place, time, and circumstances in which something occurs. background often refers to the circumstances or events that precede a phenomenon or development. the shocking decision was part of the background of the riots setting suggests looking at real-life situations in literary or dramatic terms. a militant reformer who was born into an unlikely social setting environment applies to all the external factors that have a formative influence on one's physical, mental, or moral development. the kind of environment that produces juvenile delinquents milieu applies especially to the physical and social surroundings of a person or group of persons. an intellectual milieu conducive to artistic experimentation mise-en-scène strongly suggests the use of properties to achieve a particular atmosphere or theatrical effect. a gothic thriller with a carefully crafted mise-en-scène

Meanings of Environment

Descending from the Middle French preposition environ “around,” environment , in its most basic meaning, is “that which surrounds.” When preceded by the and unmodified, it usually refers to the natural world (“please don’t litter if you care about the environment”). In a less physical, more extended sense, it may signify the circumstances and conditions that make up everyday life (“He grew up in a loving environment.”) The word may also be applied in highly specialized ways, denoting, for example, “the position of a linguistic element” (“how g gets pronounced in Italian depends upon its phonetic environment”) or “a computer interface from which various tasks can be performed” (“the app works in varied environments").

Examples of environment in a Sentence

He grew up in a loving environment. We're trying to create a better business environment. These animals were raised in a controlled environment. Many plants are unable to survive in such a harsh environment. Heredity and environment are both important. Pollution is bad for the environment.
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Recent Examples on the Web In such an environment, fiscal policy is effectively spent from the recent rounds of stimuli, and monetary policy is rendered ineffective by rising inflation and low growth. Mike O'sullivan, Forbes, "What’s Next After Vaccinations? Will Inflation Derail The Recovery?," 8 May 2021 Simply being able to decompress in that environment offered its own exhilaration. Mike Masterson, Arkansas Online, "MASTERSON ONLINE: Big peace at Big Cedar," 8 May 2021 In that environment, workers’ purchasing power is determined by how much valuable goods and services get produced. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Is direct federal spending a good way to increase the livelihood of low-income Americans?," 7 May 2021 If the thought of wasps makes your skin crawl, learning to live with them may be a first step toward appreciating their strange beauty and important role in the environment. Jen Rose Smith, CNN, "Wasps have a bad rap. This summer, let's learn to love them," 7 May 2021 The authors said one dose may provide a shorter window of protection, especially in an environment where new viral variants emerge. CBS News, "Moderna and Pfizer vaccines showing promising results against COVID variants," 6 May 2021 Those anomalies could confuse animals, encouraging them to swim away from the correct route or luring them to forage in an environment that doesn’t have the right prey. Sara Harrison, Wired, "Sharks Use the Earth’s Magnetic Field Like a Compass," 6 May 2021 Yoder said callimicos play an important role in the environment. Shanti Lerner, The Arizona Republic, "Meet the new 'teacup gorillas' at Phoenix Zoo: 5 things to know about Lilly and Vermouth," 6 May 2021 In this environment, any Republicans who seem genuinely more passionate about opposing other Republicans than Democrats — Mitt Romney also comes to mind — will find themselves in jeopardy. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Liz Cheney’s Losing Gambit," 5 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'environment.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of environment

1827, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for environment

Time Traveler

The first known use of environment was in 1827

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Statistics for environment

Last Updated

12 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Environment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/environment. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for environment

environment

noun

English Language Learners Definition of environment

: the conditions that surround someone or something : the conditions and influences that affect the growth, health, progress, etc., of someone or something
: the natural world

environment

noun
en·​vi·​ron·​ment | \ in-ˈvī-rən-mənt How to pronounce environment (audio) , -ˈvī-ərn-mənt \

Kids Definition of environment

1 : a person's physical surroundings He lives in a comfortable rural environment.
2 : the surrounding conditions or forces (as soil, climate, and living things) that influence a plant's or animal's characteristics and ability to survive
3 : the social and cultural conditions that affect the life of a person or community a happy home environment

environment

noun
en·​vi·​ron·​ment | \ in-ˈvī-rən-mənt How to pronounce environment (audio) , -ˈvī(-ə)rn- How to pronounce environment (audio) \

Medical Definition of environment

1 : the complex of physical, chemical, and biotic factors (as climate, soil, and living things) that act upon an organism or an ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival
2 : the aggregate of social and cultural conditions that influence the life of an individual or community

Other Words from environment

environmental \ -​ˌvī-​rən-​ˈment-​ᵊl, -​ˌvī(-​ə)rn-​ How to pronounce environment (audio) \ adjective
environmentally \ -​ᵊl-​ē How to pronounce environment (audio) \ adverb

Comments on environment

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