at·mo·sphere | \ˈat-mə-ˌsfir \

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 \-ˌsfird \ 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

In that atmosphere, outside groups played a key role in finding damning skeletons in Parker’s closet. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "5 Reasons Why Supreme Court Nominations Have Failed," 10 July 2018 Perhaps in response to this more aggressive atmosphere, ICOs stalled out in the first quarter of the year. Lucinda Shen, Fortune, "Kodak's Not-Quite ICO to Launch May 21, As the SEC Cracks Down," 10 May 2018 The atmosphere is unbelievable — 7,000 fans a game. Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press, "Tigers outfield prospect Brock Deatherage a 'Kirk Gibson guy'," 13 July 2018 The atmosphere won’t be conducive to discussions about emerging threats. Elisabeth Braw, WSJ, "Europe’s Little Alliances Can Help Bolster NATO," 10 July 2018 The atmosphere is chilling, but the plot keeps digressing, and the miniseries feels bloated. Hal Boedeker,, "'Sharp Objects,' Bill Maher, 'The 2000s': This weekend," 6 July 2018 The atmosphere is somewhat innocuous with lots of general warmth in the northern Hemisphere. Dave Epstein,, "What’s the weather going to be like the rest of the summer?," 6 July 2018 The atmosphere at the far end of Kenmore Lanes was certainly intense. Alexa Philippou, The Seattle Times, "‘Second is best.’ Camaraderie means more than medals at Special Olympics bowling competition," 3 July 2018 For people at Gran Caffe L’Aquila, the atmosphere at the restaurant four years ago was more exciting because both Italy and the U.S. team — neither one is playing this year — were in that World Cup. Dearbea Walker,, "World Cup means big business for some local bars," 30 June 2018

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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Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

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The first known use of atmosphere was in 1638

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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 \

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 \

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- \ adjective

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