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.
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Recent Examples on the Web The polar vortex is a large area of cold air high up in the atmosphere that normally spins over the North Pole (as its name suggests). Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "The polar vortex is about to split again, and it could bring a 'big' winter storm by MLK Day," 12 Jan. 2021 With its gameplay driven by self-paced, freeform world exploration, Yume Nikki is all about atmosphere and anticipation—with the haunting soundtrack to match. Julie Fukunaga, Wired, "Omori Is the Horror RPG of Your Dreams (or Nightmares)," 12 Jan. 2021 Over the past week, a high-pressure ridge of air has sat in the lower atmosphere around Siberia. Popular Science, "The polar vortex is about to split in two. But what does that actually mean?," 11 Jan. 2021 These worsening storms, which result largely from a warming atmosphere, are simply leaving more homes and communities under water and exacerbating what’s already the nation’s costliest natural disaster. Kurtis Alexander,, "Climate change causing one-third of flood damage in United States, Stanford study finds," 11 Jan. 2021 The food and atmosphere at Turner’s, which opened in March on the first floor of The Annie Café & Bar near Uptown Park, are splendid indulgence. Marcy De Luna, Chron, "The 10 best dishes at Houston's newest restaurants," 7 Jan. 2021 Beneath her, the lawn and the beer tent atmosphere. Misha Hoekstra, Harpers Magazine, "The Fairground," 5 Jan. 2021 But this tourney will have dramatically a different atmosphere. Michael Marot, Anchorage Daily News, "Men’s March Madness will be played entirely in Indiana," 5 Jan. 2021 The familial atmosphere at Paws Up has also extended to visitors, where Jackie uses equine therapy on teenagers and adults who have endured a traumatic experience. Sunset Magazine, "Once a ‘Total Valley Girl,’ She’s Now Saving Wild Mustangs on a Montana Ranch," 4 Jan. 2021

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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Time Traveler for atmosphere

Time Traveler

The first known use of atmosphere was in 1638

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Statistics for atmosphere

Last Updated

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Atmosphere.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for atmosphere


How to pronounce atmosphere (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of atmosphere

: the whole mass of air that surrounds the Earth
: a mass of gases that surround a planet or star
: the air in a particular place or area


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

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