biosphere

noun

bio·​sphere ˈbī-ə-ˌsfir How to pronounce biosphere (audio)
1
: the part of the world in which life can exist
2
: living organisms together with their environment
biospheric
ˌbī-ə-ˈsfir-ik How to pronounce biosphere (audio)
-ˈsfer-
-ˈsfe-rik
adjective

Did you know?

The lithosphere is the solid surface of the earth (lith- meaning "rock"); the hydrosphere is the earth's water (hydro- means "water"), including the clouds and water vapor in the air; and the atmosphere is the earth's air (atmos- meaning "vapor"). The term biosphere can include all of these, along with the 10 million species of living things they contain. The biosphere recycles its air, water, organisms, and minerals constantly to maintain an amazingly balanced state; human beings should probably do their best to imitate it. Though the word has a new sound to it, it was first used over a hundred years ago.

Examples of biosphere in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web No one in the Hollywood biosphere is quite like Melissa McCarthy. Tim Grierson, Vulture, 4 May 2024 But this state has plenty of charm—from its 130 miles of Jersey Shore beaches and sprawling natural sites (like the Pinelands biosphere reserve and the country’s largest collection of cherry blossom trees) to its historic riverside towns and sky-high mountains. Rachel Chang, Condé Nast Traveler, 15 Apr. 2024 The global environmental crisis requires a new statecraft built around the proposition that every other state concern—from national security to economic growth—depends on a healthy, stable biosphere. Stewart Patrick, Foreign Affairs, 19 Oct. 2021 On Earth, the two gases only coexist because the biosphere continuously replenishes them. Elise Cutts, WIRED, 7 Apr. 2024 These offsets fall into two categories: removal from the biosphere and removal from the geosphere. Simi Thambi​, Forbes, 30 Mar. 2024 In 1926, Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky, the founder and first president of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, elaborated the concept of the biosphere, a closed material cycle on a planetary scale that could be indefinitely sustained in part through life itself. Jacek Krywko, Ars Technica, 13 Sep. 2023 The challenge of our time – for designers and artist and everybody else – is to provide the biosphere with an equivalent platform. Jonathon Keats, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2024 Other lines of evidence point to additional post-impact benefits, including the tsunami bringing iron-rich water up from the deep, along with chemical signatures in organic matter that imply a shift in the nascent biosphere. Alka Tripathy-Lang, Ars Technica, 26 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'biosphere.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from German Biosphäre, from bio- bio- + -sphäre -sphere

Note: Biosphäre was introduced by the Austrian geologist Eduard Suess (1831-1914) in Die Entstehung der Alpen (Vienna, 1875), p. 159.

First Known Use

1899, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of biosphere was in 1899

Dictionary Entries Near biosphere

Cite this Entry

“Biosphere.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/biosphere. Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

biosphere

noun
bio·​sphere ˈbī-ə-ˌsfi(ə)r How to pronounce biosphere (audio)
: the part of the world in which life can exist

Medical Definition

biosphere

noun
bio·​sphere ˈbī-ə-ˌsfi(ə)r How to pronounce biosphere (audio)
1
: the part of the world in which life can exist
2
: living beings together with their environment

More from Merriam-Webster on biosphere

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