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a combining form meaning “air,” used in the formation of compound words: atmosphere.



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Origin of atmo-

<Greek, combining form of atmós vapor, smoke
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does atmo- mean?

Atmo- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “air.” It is often used in scientific terms, especially in meteorology.

Atmo- comes from the Greek atmós, meaning “smoke” or “vapor.”

Examples of atmo-

Atmosphere is one of the most common words that features the combining form atmo-. Atmosphere technically refers to “the gaseous envelope surrounding the earth,” but it is also used to mean “air” or “environment” more generally.

The first part of atmosphere, atmo-, means “smoke” or “vapor,” as we’ve seen. The second part, -sphere, ultimately comes from the Greek sphaîra, meaning “ball.” Atmosphere translates literally to “vapor ball.”

What are some words that use the combining form atmo-?

What are some other forms that atmo- may be commonly confused with?

Words that begin with atmo- are sometimes abbreviated as atm. or at.

Break it down!

Chemical elements such as neon and helium are known as atmophiles. Based on the name, are these elements generally found in solid, liquid, or gas form?

British Dictionary definitions for atmo-


combining form

air or vapouratmometer; atmosphere
via New Latin from Greek atmos vapour
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medical definitions for atmo-



Steam; vapor:atmosphere.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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