\ ˈsfir How to pronounce sphere (audio) \

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
\ ˌsfir \

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

Other Words from sphere


spheric \ ˈsfir-​ik How to pronounce -sphere (audio) , ˈsfer-​ \ adjective, archaic
sphericity \ sfir-​ˈi-​sə-​tē How to pronounce -sphere (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for sphere

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of sphere in a Sentence

Noun 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.
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, 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, 2 July 2017 The conductor in this creative sphere is the Double, Tchaikovsky’s alter ego. Leilah Bernstein, Los Angeles Magazine, 23 June 2017 Their main points have been discussed exhaustively, both in congressional hearings and in the public sphere. Peter W. Stevenson, Washington Post, 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, 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, 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, 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, 29 June 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Along with PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG, Deloitte and EY comprise the Big Four firms that dominate the broader professional services sphere and serve as some of the most frequent advisors on acquisitions, IPOs and other transactions. Kevin Dowd, Forbes, 10 June 2022 According to the majority of participants in the Small Business Trends survey — and countless leaders in the entrepreneurship sphere — the best way to learn about entrepreneurship is simply: Start a business. Patrick Scherzinger, Forbes, 16 May 2022 The fourth, and largest, sphere in that mix contains a wealth of extra information—none of which can be discerned by the human eye. Nick Scott, Robb Report, 21 Mar. 2022 This might sound crazy to Black people who cope with oppression and injustice on a daily basis, but in the cultural sphere the prominence that African Americans have held for more than a century in music is increasingly evident across many genres. The New Yorker, 21 Mar. 2022 The Light takes the form of a giant metal sphere that characters in-game call the Traveler. Boone Ashworth, Wired, 21 Feb. 2022 First launched in 2019, the Real TV Awards were established as way of providing the growing nonfiction TV sphere critical attention and support. Wilson Chapman, Variety, 18 Feb. 2022 As the spread of the Omicron variant reignites fears about another wave of Covid outbreaks in the U.S., the ongoing pandemic continues to throw a wrench into the normal operations of touring artists in the country and Americana sphere. Jon Freeman, Rolling Stone, 26 Dec. 2021 First appearing in 1973 going on to appear in 20 short stories and three novels, Kane falls squarely into the epic fantasy sphere that proved influential to the geek crowd of that time, and 4 four million copies have been sold. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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 entry 1

Combining form

extracted from atmosphere

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Time Traveler for sphere

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near sphere



sphere crystal

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Statistics for sphere

Cite this Entry

“Sphere.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sphere. Accessed 2 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for sphere


\ ˈsfir How to pronounce sphere (audio) \

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on sphere

Nglish: Translation of sphere for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sphere for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about sphere


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