environment

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

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 How to pronounce environmental (audio) , -​ˌvī(-​ə)r(n)-​ \ adjective
environmentally \ in-​ˌvī-​rə(n)-​ˈmen-​tᵊl-​ē How to pronounce environmentally (audio) , -​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

Sydney, the only climber in the top ten, went up by two places thanks to an improvement in its environment score. The Economist, "Vienna remains the world’s most liveable city," 4 Sep. 2019 Foreign exploitation of natural resources has placed added pressure on the country’s politics and environment. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, "Pope Francis Goes to Africa, With Renewed Focus on Poverty and Climate," 4 Sep. 2019 But decades of intense agricultural and industrial production have taken their toll on the river’s ecology and environment. Fortune Editors, Fortune, "China’s Yangtze River Basin Represents the World’s Third-Largest Economy—And It’s at Great Risk," 4 Sep. 2019 That statement ignored history and the business environment facing American manufacturing companies. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Will Trump Back Down as His Trade War with China Bites the U.S. Economy?," 4 Sep. 2019 Investor insight: This environment poses little upside for the pound, which has been gutted over the past three years by the lack of clarity over the UK's future relationship with its biggest trading partner. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Some say it's time to sell stocks. These big names disagree," 3 Sep. 2019 Tong, who took office in January, has been a critic of President Donald Trump’s policies on health care, civil rights, women’s rights, the environment, state sovereignty and gun control. Josh Kovner, courant.com, "Attorney general asks federal appeals court to intervene as second Connecticut resident faces deportation despite receiving full pardon," 3 Sep. 2019 While agreeing that cleanups along trails, highways and streams benefit the environment, four Clarksville Middle School students came to believe that such efforts weren’t making enough of a difference. Janene Holzberg, baltimoresun.com, "Howard County students inspire future caretakers of the natural world," 3 Sep. 2019 Starkey continued working but has claimed in a lawsuit filed in federal court last month that she was subjected to discrimination, a hostile work environment and retaliation. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "'It's just not right': Fired for her gay marriage, Lynn Starkey is looking for justice," 3 Sep. 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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Statistics for environment

Last Updated

7 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce environment (audio) , -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 How to pronounce environment (audio) , -ˈvī(-ə)rn- How to pronounce environment (audio) \

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-​ How to pronounce environmental (audio) \ adjective
environmentally \ -​ᵊl-​ē How to pronounce environmentally (audio) \ adverb

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Comments on environment

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