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

It’s good news for the environment—and the Tesla drivers who have their tow company on speed dial. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "U.K. will soon require new homes to include electric vehicle charging ports," 10 July 2018 Under the federal Clean Water Act, private citizens can sue private companies for harming the environment. David North, Chicago Reader, "Sickened surfers say the best waves in Lake Michigan are in the polluted waters off northwest Indiana," 10 July 2018 This strategic move to replace Dock Landing Ships with an LPD 17-like hull seems to speak to a Navy effort to expand amphibious capability to adjust to a new, fast-changing threat environment. Kris Osborn, Fox News, "Navy pushes for more amphibious assault ships," 13 July 2018 But even then, a majority of operators will stick to highly predictable environments, like suburban communities with robust roads and signage. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "This electric driverless logging truck can carry up to 16 tons of timber," 12 July 2018 Legionnaires’ disease is caused by a type of bacteria commonly found in fresh water environments, like lakes and streams, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Megan Jones, Aurora Beacon-News, "Cases of Legionnaires' disease down in Kane County; 9 cases recently reported in McHenry," 11 July 2018 These were donated by her family members as a way of showing current students the simple, yet revealing way a teacher taught about the environment, seasons and historic events. Courant Community, "Community News For The Valley Edition," 10 July 2018 As they are relegated to more and more restricted environments, their vulnerability only increases. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "How Humans Created the Ultimate Superpests," 9 July 2018 For New Yorker Robert Sullivan, the act of giving directions functions as a barometer of a city’s health, because at the heart of all urban environments, both ones that thrive and ones that fail, is something very basic: human interactions. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "How Brooklyn Lost Itself," 6 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.

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

Phrases Related to environment

environmental toxin

the environment

Statistics for environment

Last Updated

19 Oct 2018

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

lying above or upon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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!