strato·​sphere ˈstra-tə-ˌsfir How to pronounce stratosphere (audio)
: 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
: a very high or the highest region on or as if on a graded scale
construction costs in the stratosphere
the celebrity stratosphere
stratospheric adjective

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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 Porsche 918 Spyder The 918 Spyder was a true game changer, demonstrating the potential of plug-in hybrid technology in the supercar stratosphere. Robb Report Staff, Robb Report, 4 July 2024 Though Roan has been working in the music industry for several years, her profile recently exploded into a new stratosphere following the release of her first studio album, The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess, last September. Shania Russell,, 23 June 2024 General Daily Insight for June 06, 2024 Our ideas can lift us into new stratospheres!, Hartford Courant, 6 June 2024 The video was well-received on the broadcast, but the thing burned through the cultural stratosphere after unofficial rips were uploaded to YouTube, then just mere months in existence. Nicholas Quah, Vulture, 10 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for stratosphere 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'stratosphere.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from French stratosphère, probably from stratus stratus (from the zone's layer-like character, compared to stratus clouds) + -o- -o- + -sphère -sphere

Note: The term was introduced, along with troposphère, by the French meteorologist Léon Tesserenc de Bort (1855-1913). See note at troposphere.

First Known Use

1908, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of stratosphere was in 1908

Dictionary Entries Near stratosphere

Cite this Entry

“Stratosphere.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


strato·​sphere ˈstrat-ə-ˌsfi(ə)r How to pronounce stratosphere (audio)
: an upper portion of the atmosphere above the troposphere where temperature changes little and clouds rarely form

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