\ˈsfir \

Definition of sphere 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a(1) : the apparent surface of the heavens of which half forms the dome of the visible sky

(2) : any of the concentric and eccentric revolving spherical transparent shells in which according to ancient astronomy stars, sun, planets, and moon are set

b : a globe depicting such a sphere broadly : globe sense a

2a : a globular body : ball

b : planet, star

c(1) : a solid that is bounded by a surface consisting of all points at a given distance from a point constituting its center — see Volume Formulas Table

(2) : the bounding surface of a sphere

3 : natural, normal, or proper place especially : social order or rank not in the same sphere as his moneyed friends

4a obsolete : orbit

b : an area or range over or within which someone or something acts, exists, or has influence or significance the public sphere


sphered; sphering

Definition of sphere (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to place in a sphere or among the spheres : ensphere

2 : to form into a sphere


combining form

Definition of -sphere (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : zone, layer or region enveloping or radiating from the earth or another celestial body ionosphere magnetosphere

2 : collectivity : totality (as specified by the initial element) biosphere blogosphere

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Other Words from sphere


spheric \ ˈsfir-​ik , ˈsfer-​ \ adjective archaic
sphericity \ sfir-​ˈi-​sə-​tē \ noun

Examples of sphere in a Sentence


All points on a sphere are the same distance from the center. Women at that time were confined to the domestic sphere. They recognize that jobs in the public sphere are valuable.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

India is trying to preserve its own sphere of influence in South Asia through projects such as building roads and bridges in Bangladesh, hydroelectric plants in Nepal and ports and railways in Sri Lanka. The Economist, "One Lifebelt, One RoadChina makes Pakistan an offer it cannot refuse," 22 July 2017 Remove the 108 stitches, peel back the two-piece cowhide cover, unravel the four layers of yarn and a rubber pill is revealed, inside of which is contained a sphere of cork. Kirk Kenney, sandiegouniontribune.com, "The ol' ball game: Fans at Petco Park have a ball when they get one," 2 July 2017 The conductor in this creative sphere is the Double, Tchaikovsky’s alter ego. Leilah Bernstein, Los Angeles Magazine, "This Ballet About Tchaikovsky Reveals the Composer’s Talent and Torment," 23 June 2017 Their main points have been discussed exhaustively, both in congressional hearings and in the public sphere. Peter W. Stevenson, Washington Post, "The simple reason intelligence officials keep talking about Russian hacking? Trump.," 21 June 2017 So far, astronomers have found only a dozen of the most distant probes of Planet Nine’s supposed sphere of influence. Joshua Sokol, Science | AAAS, "New haul of distant worlds casts doubt on Planet Nine," 21 June 2017 Prusa is celebrated for intricate images derived from astrophysics and mathematics, painstakingly drawn in silverpoint onto large acrylic spheres. George Fishman, miamiherald, "At Boca glass show, you won’t find your aunt’s collection of swans and clowns," 16 June 2017 Developer Vicarious Visions chose authenticity over improvement, and, in the sphere of gaming history and archival, that choice matters. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy: As good as the uneven series will ever get," 2 July 2017 The dish is served with french fries, kale slaw and little spheres of hot sauce on the house buttermilk-herb dressing. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The tastes of summer: the cocktail and dish to try in Milwaukee," 29 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sphere.' 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 sphere


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


1602, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sphere


Middle English spere globe, celestial sphere, from Anglo-French espere, from Latin sphaera, from Greek sphaira, literally, ball; perhaps akin to Greek spairein to quiver — more at spurn

Combining form

extracted from atmosphere

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Time Traveler for sphere

The first known use of sphere was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for sphere



English Language Learners Definition of sphere

: a round object

geometry : a three-dimensional shape that looks like a ball

: an area of influence or activity


\ˈsfir \

Kids Definition of sphere

1 : an object (as the moon) shaped like a ball

2 : a figure so shaped that every point on its surface is an equal distance from its center

3 : a field of influence or activity Electrical work is outside a plumber's sphere.

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