environment

noun
en·​vi·​ron·​ment | \ in-ˈvī-rə(n)-mənt , -ˈvī(-ə)r(n)- \

Definition of environment

1 : the circumstances, objects, or conditions by which one is surrounded
2a : the complex of physical, chemical, and biotic factors (such as climate, soil, and living things) that act upon an organism or an ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival
b : the aggregate of social and cultural conditions that influence the life of an individual or community
3 : the position or characteristic position of a linguistic element in a sequence
4 : a computer interface from which various tasks can be performed a programming environment

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Other Words from environment

environmental \ in-​ˌvī-​rə(n)-​ˈmen-​tᵊl , -​ˌvī(-​ə)r(n)-​ \ adjective
environmentally \ in-​ˌvī-​rə(n)-​ˈmen-​tᵊl-​ē , -​ˌvī(-​ə)r(n)-​ \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for environment

background, setting, environment, milieu, mise-en-scène mean the place, time, and circumstances in which something occurs. background often refers to the circumstances or events that precede a phenomenon or development. the shocking decision was part of the background of the riots setting suggests looking at real-life situations in literary or dramatic terms. a militant reformer who was born into an unlikely social setting environment applies to all the external factors that have a formative influence on one's physical, mental, or moral development. the kind of environment that produces juvenile delinquents milieu applies especially to the physical and social surroundings of a person or group of persons. an intellectual milieu conducive to artistic experimentation mise-en-scène strongly suggests the use of properties to achieve a particular atmosphere or theatrical effect. a gothic thriller with a carefully crafted mise-en-scène

Meanings of Environment

Descending from the Middle French preposition environ “around,” environment , in its most basic meaning, is “that which surrounds.” When preceded by the and unmodified, it usually refers to the natural world (“please don’t litter if you care about the environment”). In a less physical, more extended sense, it may signify the circumstances and conditions that make up everyday life (“He grew up in a loving environment.”) The word may also be applied in highly specialized ways, denoting, for example, “the position of a linguistic element” (“how g gets pronounced in Italian depends upon its phonetic environment”) or “a computer interface from which various tasks can be performed” (“the app works in varied environments").

Examples of environment in a Sentence

He grew up in a loving environment. We're trying to create a better business environment. These animals were raised in a controlled environment. Many plants are unable to survive in such a harsh environment. Heredity and environment are both important. Pollution is bad for the environment.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In fact, only two stand out: Windows Sandbox, a virtual environment within Windows 10 to run untrusted apps; and support for kaomoji, the combination of characters to create faces and icons like ᶘ ᵒᴥᵒᶅ. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Windows 10's April 2019 Update should be as straightforward as its name," 25 Jan. 2019 Sitting at the foothills of the mystical Mount Taygetus, not only is this medieval walled town a UNESCO World Heritage Monument immersed in fascinating history, but the surrounding natural environment is rugged, raw, and inspiringly real. Alex Postman, Condé Nast Traveler, "28 Places Our Travel Specialists Say You Should Go in 2019," 17 Dec. 2018 According to a study published earlier this year in the journal Infant Behavior and Development, an environment with fewer toys is better for kids. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "Attention Grandmas: It's Better for Kids to Have Fewer Toys," 14 Dec. 2018 To settle that debate, scientists need to understand what the environment was like hundreds of thousands of years ago, during the Middle Pleistocene. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Archaeologists find 300,000-year-old stone tools in Saudi Arabia," 29 Oct. 2018 The sartorial hack is often used for appearances on the tarmac or airports, where the environment is especially gusty. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Narrowly Avoided a Wardrobe Malfunction at Princess Eugenie's Wedding," 12 Oct. 2018 On matters of the environment, Hathaway draws a hard line. Elizabeth Holmes, Town & Country, "Anne Hathaway Is Nobody's Punching Bag," 8 Jan. 2019 Capitalism also has a negative impact on the environment. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "What is Capitalism?," 7 Jan. 2019 Alongside a broader distribution of water and electricity has come a wrenching disfigurement of the environment and the squalid effects of overuse. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, "‘Unruly Waters’ and ‘Ganges’ Review: In India, Water Is Politics," 4 Jan. 2019

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

1827, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

9 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for environment

The first known use of environment was in 1827

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More Definitions for environment

environment

noun

English Language Learners Definition of environment

: the conditions that surround someone or something : the conditions and influences that affect the growth, health, progress, etc., of someone or something
: the natural world

environment

noun
en·​vi·​ron·​ment | \ in-ˈvī-rən-mənt , -ˈvī-ərn-mənt\

Kids Definition of environment

1 : a person's physical surroundings He lives in a comfortable rural environment.
2 : the surrounding conditions or forces (as soil, climate, and living things) that influence a plant's or animal's characteristics and ability to survive
3 : the social and cultural conditions that affect the life of a person or community a happy home environment

environment

noun
en·​vi·​ron·​ment | \ in-ˈvī-rən-mənt , -ˈvī(-ə)rn- \

Medical Definition of environment

1 : the complex of physical, chemical, and biotic factors (as climate, soil, and living things) that act upon an organism or an ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival
2 : the aggregate of social and cultural conditions that influence the life of an individual or community

Other Words from environment

environmental \ -​ˌvī-​rən-​ˈment-​ᵊl, -​ˌvī(-​ə)rn-​ \ adjective
environmentally \ -​ᵊl-​ē \ adverb

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