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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

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 His success in that environment, our family and our happiness and our goals and values were not dependent on him in that public position. Thomas Farragher, BostonGlobe.com, "Jan Cellucci keeps Paul Cellucci’s memory alive by fighting his killer, ALS," 14 July 2018 Carson's department store is experimenting with various approaches for boosting the appeal of the traditional retail environment. Suzanne Kapner, WSJ, "Department Store of the Future: Selling Art Off the Walls and Car Insurance at Checkout," 24 Dec. 2018 And there are lots of environments—from airports to large parking lots—where a top speed of 25mph isn't a problem. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Waymo’s ambitious plans for high-speed taxis could be holding it back," 3 Dec. 2018 The organizations argued that by allowing oil drilling, the government was violating the Norwegian constitution — which, according to Reuters, includes the guarantee of a safe environment. Jameelah Nasheed, Teen Vogue, "This Norwegian Teen Is Fighting Her Government on Arctic Oil Drilling," 4 Oct. 2018 Key to this vision is controlling how cells sense and respond to their environments, says Christopher Voigt, a bioengineer at MIT and co-founder of Asimov, a biotech startup that Nielsen leads. Eric Smalley, Discover Magazine, "Cellular Cyborgs: How Programmable DNA Strands Might Control Healing," 25 Sep. 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.

See More

First Known Use of environment

1827, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about environment

Share environment

Statistics for environment

Last Updated

12 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for environment

The first known use of environment was in 1827

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on environment

What made you want to look up environment? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

tremendous in size, volume, or degree

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!