at·​mo·​sphere | \ ˈat-mə-ˌsfir How to pronounce atmosphere (audio) \

Definition of atmosphere

1a : the gaseous envelope of a celestial body (such as a planet)
b : the whole mass of air surrounding the earth
2 : the air of a locality the stuffy atmosphere of the waiting room
3 : a surrounding influence or environment an atmosphere of hostility
4 : a unit of pressure equal to the pressure of the air at sea level or approximately 14.7 pounds per square inch (101,325 pascals)
5a : the overall aesthetic effect of a work of art
b : an intriguing or singular tone, effect, or appeal an inn with atmosphere

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Other Words from atmosphere

atmosphered \ ˈat-​mə-​ˌsfird How to pronounce atmosphere (audio) \ adjective

Examples of atmosphere in a Sentence

Experts have noticed changes in the atmosphere. Meteoroids burn up as they pass through Earth's atmosphere. The planets have different atmospheres. a country inn with lots of atmosphere The food was good but the restaurant has no atmosphere.
Recent Examples on the Web The focus now is on conserving outdoor water that evaporates into the scorching atmosphere, such as that from sprinklers. Erin Patrick O'connor, Washington Post, 14 May 2022 Considerations for the award include the bar’s menu, bar teams, atmosphere, and cocktail quality. al, 12 May 2022 Because of this orbit, the debris field will take a while to reenter Earth’s atmosphere. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 6 May 2022 But many factors play a starring role: an empathic boss, upper management’s caring attitude, a relaxed and productive atmosphere, financial benefits, job security, commitment to excellence and open and honest communication. Bryan Robinson, Forbes, 3 May 2022 In the back of the restaurant, the couple hopes to create a parlor with an art deco atmosphere, eclectic furniture around a gas fireplace. Kenneth R. Gosselin, Hartford Courant, 25 Apr. 2022 Debbie Milliken from La Mesa said she was fascinated by a booth teaching that factory farming uses excessive water and increases the amount of methane in the atmosphere, which accelerates climate change. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Apr. 2022 This is clearly the second stage of the Falcon 9 reentering Earth's atmosphere, spinning, and venting the extra propellant in its fuel tanks. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 22 Apr. 2022 The atmosphere, in the bay, of nature struggling in a kind of half-sleep to release itself from winter was foreign to us. New York Times, 19 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'atmosphere.' 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 atmosphere

1638, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for atmosphere

earlier in Latinate form atmo-sphæra, from Greek atmós "steam, vapor" (probably contracted from aetmós, of uncertain origin) + -o- -o- + Latin sphaera sphere entry 1

Note: The word atmo-sphæra was apparently introduced by the English clergyman and natural philosopher John Wilkins (1614-72) in The Discovery of a World in the Moone (London, 1638), p. 138: "Proposition 10. That there is an Atmo-sphæra, or an orbe of grosse vaporous aire, immediately encompassing the body of the Moone."

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The first known use of atmosphere was in 1638

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Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Atmosphere.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for atmosphere


at·​mo·​sphere | \ ˈat-mə-ˌsfir How to pronounce atmosphere (audio) \

Kids Definition of atmosphere

1 : the whole mass of air that surrounds the earth
2 : the gas surrounding a heavenly body (as a planet) The atmosphere of Mars is made up mostly of carbon dioxide.
3 : the air in a particular place
4 : a surrounding influence or set of conditions an atmosphere of excitement


at·​mo·​sphere | \ ˈat-mə-ˌsfi(ə)r How to pronounce atmosphere (audio) \

Medical Definition of atmosphere

1 : the whole mass of air surrounding the earth
2 : the air of a locality
3 : a unit of pressure equal to the pressure of the air at sea level or to 101,325 pascals or to approximately 14.7 pounds per square inch

Other Words from atmosphere

atmospheric \ ˌat-​mə-​ˈsfi(ə)r-​ik, -​ˈsfer-​ How to pronounce atmosphere (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on atmosphere

Nglish: Translation of atmosphere for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of atmosphere for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about atmosphere


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