strato·​sphere | \ ˈstra-tə-ˌsfir How to pronounce stratosphere (audio) \

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 How to pronounce stratospheric (audio) , -​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 Humans were launched into the stratosphere for two years in the 1930s from the Black Hills of South Dakota, more precisely a 450-foot natural bowl at about 4,000 feet of elevation. National Geographic, "How do we come to grips with 200,000 dead?," 23 Sep. 2020 Yet the financial distance between today’s female pros and their male counterparts, whose earnings have soared into the stratosphere, is probably larger than ever. Daniel Akst, WSJ, "What’s Behind the Gender Pay Gap in Sports?," 27 Oct. 2020 The whole social stratosphere, the whole social ecosystem stemmed from the mall. Nina Metz,, "My worst moment: Famous for playing Urkel on ‘Family Matters,’ Jaleel White on juggling the desire to party with acting jobs as an adult in his 20s," 3 Nov. 2020 In the South Texas border village of Boca Chica, SpaceX’s 17-story-tall Starship dominates the flat marshland and stands ready to take off into the stratosphere., "Express Briefing: SpaceX’s Starship poised to launch Texas’ space industry into new era," 30 Oct. 2020 The Seahawks defense isn't in that stratosphere anymore, giving the Vikings another decent matchup after running through the Texans. Andrew Krammer, Star Tribune, "Mike Hughes returns to Vikings practice, but Eric Kendricks sits out," 7 Oct. 2020 The balloon craft will rise at about 12 miles per hour, cruise in the stratosphere for about two hours, then make its slow descent. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "For $125,000, You Could Ride a Balloon Into the Stratosphere," 25 June 2020 As the sulfur dioxide spreads out in the stratosphere, chemical reactions turn it into other sulfur compounds that reflect solar radiation, blocking the Sun’s light and warmth. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "The volcano that caused famines in ancient Rome? It was in Alaska," 22 June 2020 His scientist parents had flown a balloon to the stratosphere in 1934. Penelope Green, New York Times, "Don Piccard, a Pioneer Who Soared, Is Dead at 94," 13 Oct. 2020

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

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.

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Time Traveler for stratosphere

Time Traveler

The first known use of stratosphere was in 1908

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Statistics for stratosphere

Last Updated

18 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Stratosphere.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for stratosphere


strato·​sphere | \ ˈstra-tə-ˌsfir How to pronounce stratosphere (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on stratosphere

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

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