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

The rodents are the last remaining nonnative mammals on the archipelago, which is one of the richest marine environments on the globe, supporting as many as 300,000 seabirds at a time, the largest colony in the continental United States. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "Coastal Commission to consider poisoning mice to restore balance on Farallon Islands," 10 July 2019 But so does the environment surrounding a homicide. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "How Milwaukee became so segregated and why it matters when it comes to crime," 10 July 2019 And, while in the past voters have ranked the environment low among their concerns, climate change has risen in importance in the eyes of voters as the effects of global warming have become increasingly apparent to average Americans. Justin Worland, Time, "Donald Trump Called Climate Change a Hoax. Now He's Awkwardly Boasting About Fighting It," 10 July 2019 In our view, the process should be open and inclusive, given the huge number of competing interests in the region, including municipalities, agriculture, tribes and the environment. John Fleck, The Conversation, "Western states buy time with a 7-year Colorado River drought plan, but face a hotter, drier future," 10 July 2019 For big donors wary of the party’s turn to the left—and of Warren’s and Sanders’s promises to change the regulatory environment—Buttigieg is an exciting new candidate. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "What Does Big Tech Want From Buttigieg?," 9 July 2019 Benisch and McCurdy are emblematic of a larger wave of practitioners who are centering the environment in their work. Diana Budds, Curbed, "How design is being upended by the climate crisis," 9 July 2019 If climate change and the destruction of the environment and the extinction of species isn’t stopped, pandemics of disease are going to get worse. Bridget Read, Vogue, "60 Years After Her First Vogue Cover, Jane Fonda on Acting, Activism, and Having No Regrets," 9 July 2019 It was closed in 2014 due to the global trade environment. Andrea Leinfelder, Houston Chronicle, "Shuttered steel mill gets new life in Bellville," 9 July 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

13 Jul 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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