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

Colorado’s Sixth Congressional District: Democrat Jason Crow beats Republican Rep. Mike Coffman Vox Coffman always seemed likely to lose this moderate suburban district in an election environment favorable to Democrats. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Every House seat Democrats have flipped in the midterm elections, in one post.," 7 Nov. 2018 The iPhone user guide warns that proximity to helium can impair functionality and that to recover, devices should be left to air out for a week or so in an environment far away from the rogue helium. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Helium implicated in weird iPhone malfunctions," 31 Oct. 2018 This can only become a reality in an environment where women are free from subjugation, exploitation, and abuse. Good Housekeeping, "Actress Catherine Oxenberg Opens Up About the Secretive Group She Claims Brainwashed Her Daughter," 6 Aug. 2018 Adults practice language skills in an instructive and safe environment. Mary Lou Cruz, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Deerfield Beach area events July 18-28," 13 July 2018 His background, physical strength and mental toughness and desire to compete — all of that combined to make Appleby an ideal candidate to make a living in an intense environment. Fletcher Page, The Courier-Journal, "Former U of L punter Josh Appleby now holds vital role for NASCAR team," 13 July 2018 An unsafe work environment was found to triple to quadruple the risk for committing a medical error. Alan Mozes, CBS News, "Doctor burnout behind many medical errors, study finds," 10 July 2018 The USA Football FUNdamentals clinic is designed to teach children basic football skills in an energetic environment. Michael Osipoff, Post-Tribune, "Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short on youth camp: 'Giving back has always been in my heart'," 9 July 2018 Southgate has created a positive environment for what may be the most talented collection of English prospects since the 1950s. Jonathan Clegg, WSJ, "How England Rewired Its Soccer DNA," 10 July 2018

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

16 Nov 2018

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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 environment : 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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