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 atmosphered (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 People often talk about a playoff or electric atmosphere, but the feeling that day transcended any description. Bruce Jenkins,, "The Sporting Green’s readers tell us their favorite sports memories," 16 May 2020 The site explains that the country should expect La Niña conditions, an ocean-atmosphere phenomenon, to occur later this year, and temperatures are usually hotter when that happens in the summer. Jennifer Aldrich, Better Homes & Gardens, "Crank the AC: Experts Say This Summer Will Be Hotter Than Normal," 15 May 2020 Backups are fun, but the real juice in Dallas’ competitive atmosphere will come from the position battles for starting gigs -- those players figure to have a bigger impact on wins and losses moving forward. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: Cowboys position battles to follow when football resumes, including a possible shakeup at cornerback," 15 May 2020 Pluto’s atmosphere may collapse more slowly than previously predicted, or perhaps not at all. Mike Wall, Scientific American, "Pluto’s Wispy Atmosphere May Be Surprisingly Robust," 14 May 2020 Finally, if burned, the gas will add still more to the atmosphere’s toxic methane and carbon overload. Bill Mckibben, The New Yorker, "One Crisis Doesn’t Stop Because Another Starts," 14 May 2020 The US Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron confirmed that the core stage re-entered Earth's atmosphere at 11:33am ET (15:33 UTC) on Monday at a location over the Atlantic Ocean. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Large chunks of a Chinese rocket missed New York City by about 15 minutes," 12 May 2020 Often, images will range in clarity depending on how still Earth’s atmosphere is at the time the image is taken. Claire Maldarelli, Popular Science, "Jupiter has a spooky new look in this sharp infrared photo," 12 May 2020 The fact that the decoration of the house developed organically—with Pilkington’s design sense interacting with client heirlooms and items from her own storage—plays a large part in this at-ease atmosphere. Elle Decor Editors, ELLE Decor, "Chris Cuomo and Cristina Greeven Cuomo’s Family Home Is Rooted in Tradition and Elegance," 6 May 2020

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

20 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Atmosphere.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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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 atmospheric (audio) \ adjective

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