strato·​sphere | \ˈstra-tə-ˌsfir \

Definition of stratosphere 

1 : the part of the earth's atmosphere which extends from the top of the troposphere to about 30 miles (50 kilometers) above the surface and in which temperature increases gradually to about 32° F (0° C) and clouds rarely form

2 : a very high or the highest region on or as if on a graded scale construction costs in the stratosphere the celebrity stratosphere

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Other Words from stratosphere

stratospheric \ˌstra-​tə-​ˈsfir-​ik, -​ˈsfer-​ \ adjective
stratospherically \ˌstra-​tə-​ˈsfir-​i-​k(ə-​)lē, -​ˈsfer-​ \ adverb

Did You Know?

The stratosphere (strato- simply means "layer" or "level") lies above the earth's weather and mostly changes very little. It contains the ozone layer, which shields us from the sun's ultraviolet radiation except where it's been harmed by manmade chemicals. The levels of the atmosphere are marked particularly by their temperatures; stratospheric temperatures rise only to around 32°—very moderate considering that temperatures in the troposphere below may descend to about -70° and those in the ionosphere above may rise to 1000°.

Examples of stratosphere in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Harvard scientists are about to launch a small amount of these particles into the stratosphere in a test to be held next year. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Harvard Scientists Are Really Launching a Sun-Blocking Geoengineering Experiment," 5 Dec. 2018 Here’s why: an India-Pakistan nuclear fight of that size could emit at least 5 million to 6 million tons of black smoke into the stratosphere. Alex Ward, Vox, "This is exactly how a nuclear war would kill you," 19 Oct. 2018 Facebook shot Instagram into the stratosphere, transforming it from a start-up with 13 employees and a user base of 30 million into a juggernaut with 1,000 workers and one billion users. Seth Stevenson, WSJ, "Instagram’s Kevin Systrom on the Platform He Built for One Billion Users," 25 Sep. 2018 Apple, the company Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded in 1976 in possibly not a garage, became the most valuable company in the world in 2012, passing Microsoft as iPhone sales pushed the company into the stratosphere. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "That’s trillion with a T—Apple hits market value of $1 trillion," 2 Aug. 2018 Above that is the stratosphere, the domain of aircraft and high-altitude balloons. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "A Group of Scientists Want to Launch a Satellite to Make an Artificial Aurora," 29 Oct. 2018 Solar geoengineering would reflect light and heat away from Earth and back into space by injecting aerosols into the stratosphere, the second layer of Earth’s atmosphere. Abigail Higgins, Vox, "10 ways the world is most likely to end, explained by scientists," 18 Oct. 2018 By lashing out and by launching an internal inquiry, Trump has boosted the story into the stratosphere (along with endless guessing-game stories). Howard Kurtz, Fox News, "Why Deep State Throat hurt his own cause by trashing Trump in the Times," 7 Sep. 2018 That last one just might catapult her into the celebrity stratosphere, which is both exhilarating and anxiety-inducing for her. Matteo Montanari, Allure, "How Anya Taylor-Joy Translated a Childhood Fascination With Makeup Into a Successful Acting Career," 28 Aug. 2018

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

1908, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for stratosphere

French stratosphère, from New Latin stratum + -o- + French sphère sphere, from Latin sphaera

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Last Updated

15 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for stratosphere

The first known use of stratosphere was in 1908

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More Definitions for stratosphere


strato·​sphere | \ˈstra-tə-ˌsfir \

Kids Definition of stratosphere

: an upper portion of the atmosphere extending from about 6 miles (10 kilometers) to 30 miles (50 kilometers) upward where temperature changes little and clouds rarely form

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More from Merriam-Webster on stratosphere

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stratosphere

Spanish Central: Translation of stratosphere

Nglish: Translation of stratosphere for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about stratosphere

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a nest or breeding place

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