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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Brain cancer and osteosarcoma projects are in development.^ [2] Emerson Collective is an organization founded by Laurene Powell Jobs to back initiatives to effect change on a wide variety of issues, like immigration, the environment, and healthcare. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "The New Frontier of Participatory Cancer Research," 26 Apr. 2019 To buy secondhand clothes or vintage in this specific environment and society allows people to spend money on something that has already been worn and gives clothes a chance to be used again, another life. Mark Holgate, Vogue, "Francesco Colucci Styles the Windows of Traid in London, Turning Out Some of the City’s Fiercest Looks," 22 Apr. 2019 That was the environment, and so everybody was out for everybody and so that’s the learning. Eric Johnson, Recode, "How to make a big company more innovative," 30 Nov. 2018 Here, Hart recommends trying to bring some yellow into your environment in other ways. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Will Blue Make You Psychic? Can Yellow Detox Your Mind? A Color Therapist Weighs in on Fall 2019’s Color Trends," 4 Apr. 2019 Our Planet’ premiere at the Natural History Museum with The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Cambridge, lending their joint support for the protection of our environment. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Shared a Previously Unseen Photo From Their Botswana Trip," 4 Apr. 2019 Beginning on May 1, Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and other Disney locations will be smoke-free environments. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Disney Just Banned Smoking at All California and Florida Theme Parks," 2 Apr. 2019 As our environment continues to change, forward locations like Det. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "It Looks Like A U.S. Air Base Is Coming To Poland," 13 Mar. 2019 Also, many of the products being created (like cars) are inherently bad for the environment and add to the ever increasing issue of global warming. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "What is Capitalism?," 7 Jan. 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.

See More

First Known Use of environment

1827, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about environment

Statistics for environment

Last Updated

18 May 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 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

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

to mark by some ceremony or observation

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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!