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

Meanwhile, sensors would translate your walking motion into that virtual environment. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Google is patenting a pair of motorized VR roller skates," 20 Nov. 2018 All this results in a consistently smooth and natural sound—provided the gain level is set correctly for the recording environment—with little hiss or sibilance. Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "The Ars Holiday Gift Guide 2018—good tech for the home and home office," 19 Nov. 2018 Yeah, Intrepid looks after employees, looks after the environment, looks after the communities, and travels and governs itself in the right way. Bridget Hallinan, Condé Nast Traveler, "Innovators: Leigh Barnes of the Intrepid Group on Being a More Conscious Traveler," 16 Nov. 2018 Invented by British philosopher Phillippa Foot in 1967, the Trolley Problem uses hypothetical scenarios within extreme environments to test utilitarian and Aristotlean ethics. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Out of Two Million People, Most Prefer That a Self-Driving Car Kill the Elderly," 25 Oct. 2018 But be warned: Lots of dark money is going into convincing you not to vote to protect the environment. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Environmental Measures on the 2018 Midterm Election Ballots You Should Know About," 18 Oct. 2018 Unfortunately, the large but cozy environment of Omega Centauri works against hopes for habitability. Nola Taylor Redd, Space.com, "Omega Centauri Is a Terrible Place to Look for Habitable Planets," 15 Aug. 2018 Water during the day, not in the evenings when the foliage will stay wet overnight, which sets up the perfect environment for fungal diseases to take hold. Arricca Sansone, Country Living, "How to Grow Lily Flowers," 1 Aug. 2018 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

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

30 Nov 2018

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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 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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