bio·​sphere | \ ˈbī-ə-ˌsfir How to pronounce biosphere (audio) \

Definition of biosphere

1 : the part of the world in which life can exist
2 : living organisms together with their environment

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Other Words from biosphere

biospheric \ ˌbī-​ə-​ˈsfir-​ik How to pronounce biospheric (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 Basic quantitative reasoning confirms one of Klein’s central arguments — that the survival of a healthy biosphere on this finite planet is inconsistent with an economic system dependent on continuous growth. David Grinspoon, Washington Post, "An audacious plan to stop climate change: Remake the entire economy," 18 Oct. 2019 That means preventing further degradation of soils, water, insect life, or any element of the biosphere from farm field to consumers’ tables, Verchot said. Stephen Leahy, National Geographic, "World food crisis looms if carbon emissions go unchecked, UN says," 8 Aug. 2019 In the 1970s, the microbiologist Lynn Margulis and the chemist James Lovelock developed the Gaia hypothesis, which posits that Earth’s biosphere is, in some sense, a unified self-regulating organism. Quanta Magazine, "Soil’s Microbial Market Shows the Ruthless Side of Forests," 27 Aug. 2019 There are four main reservoirs of oxygen on Earth: the terrestrial biosphere (green), marine biosphere (blue), lithosphere (Earth’s crust, brown), and atmosphere (grey). The Conversation,, "Amazon fires are alarming -- but, no, they won’t deplete Earth’s oxygen: The Conversation," 26 Aug. 2019 As the Earth’s biosphere gets warmer, evaporation increases, leading to drier conditions that increase the likelihood of wildfires and—without damper soil to moderate temperatures—heatwaves. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "To combat climate change, cities need to tackle sprawl," 8 Aug. 2019 The idea is to keep soil microbes intact and to continually add organic matter to the soil surface, to be taken in and broken down by all the creatures that live in the underground biosphere. Washington Post, "Heavy rains can damage a vegetable garden — but the gardener can protect it," 24 July 2019 Located in Oracle, Arizona, Biosphere 2 is an enormous, geometric steel-and-glass building that contains replicas of the ecosystems on earth, the original biosphere. Diana Budds, Curbed, "Inside the strange—and misunderstood—saga of Biosphere 2," 11 July 2019 The Deep Carbon Observatory estimated that the carbon mass of organisms in Earth’s deep biosphere is at least 245 times that of humankind. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's magazine, "Findings," 10 Mar. 2019

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

1899, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for biosphere

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.

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Statistics for biosphere

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for biosphere

The first known use of biosphere was in 1899

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More Definitions for biosphere


How to pronounce biosphere (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of biosphere

: the part of the Earth in which life can exist


bio·​sphere | \ ˈbī-ə-ˌsfi(ə)r How to pronounce biosphere (audio) \

Medical Definition of biosphere

1 : the part of the world in which life can exist
2 : living beings together with their environment

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More from Merriam-Webster on biosphere

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with biosphere

Spanish Central: Translation of biosphere

Nglish: Translation of biosphere for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about biosphere

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