environment

noun en·vi·ron·ment \ in-ˈvī-rə(n)-mənt , -ˈvī(-ə)r(n)- \
Updated on: 9 Dec 2017

Definition of environment

1 : the circumstances, objects, or conditions by which one is surrounded
2 a : 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

environmental

play \in-ˌvī-rə(n)-ˈmen-tᵊl, -ˌvī(-ə)r(n)-\ adjective

environmentally

play \in-ˌvī-rə(n)-ˈmen-tᵊl-ē, -ˌvī(-ə)r(n)-\ adverb

Examples of environment in a Sentence

  1. He grew up in a loving environment.

  2. We're trying to create a better business environment.

  3. These animals were raised in a controlled environment.

  4. Many plants are unable to survive in such a harsh environment.

  5. Heredity and environment are both important.

  6. Pollution is bad for the environment.

Recent Examples of environment from the Web

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.

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").

First Known Use of environment

1827

Synonym Discussion of 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


ENVIRONMENT Defined for English Language Learners

environment

noun

Definition of environment for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

environment

noun en·vi·ron·ment \ in-ˈvī-rən-mənt , -ˈvī-ərn-mənt \

Definition of environment for Students

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

Medical Dictionary

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

environmental

play \-ˌvī-rən-ˈment-ᵊl, -ˌvī(-ə)rn-\ adjective

environmentally

play \-ᵊl-ē\ adverb


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