the gaseous envelope surrounding the earth; the air: a weather balloon rising high into the atmosphere.
this medium at a given place: the warm, dry atmosphere of the Joshua tree's natural environment.
Astronomy. the gaseous envelope surrounding a heavenly body: The white ovals seen in Saturn's atmosphere could be intense storms.
Chemistry. any gaseous envelope or medium: The ether was treated with a sulfate in an atmosphere of coal gas.
a conventional unit of pressure, the normal pressure of the air at sea level, about 14.7 pounds per square inch (101.3 kilopascals), equal to the pressure exerted by a column of mercury 29.92 inches (760 millimeters) high. Abbreviation: atm.
a surrounding or pervading mood, environment, or influence: an atmosphere of impending war;a very tense atmosphere.
the dominant mood or emotional tone of a work of art, as of a play or novel: the chilly atmosphere of a ghost story.
a distinctive quality, as of a place; character: The old part of town has lots of atmosphere.
Also at·mos·pheres, at·mos [at-mohs] /ˈæt moʊs/ .Radio, Television, Movies. the background sound that is present, or would naturally be present, in the location where a recording or broadcast is made, often recorded as a separate track and then mixed; ambient sound.
to give an atmosphere to: The author had cleverly atmosphered the novel for added chills.
The earliest sense, from the mid-1600s, is found in early scientific writing, referring to “the gaseous envelope surrounding a heavenly body.” Figurative senses developed later: first “a surrounding or pervading mood,” referring to mental or psychological environment, in the late 1700s, and then, “a distinctive quality, as of a place; character,” referring to physical environment.
- at·mos·phere·less, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use atmosphere in a sentence
As landscapes burn and release carbon dioxide, it helps trap more heat in the atmosphere.What wildfires in Brazil, Siberia, and the US West have in common | Lili Pike | September 17, 2020 | Vox
The team thinks the nitrogen atmosphere was helpful because it’s less corrosive than oxygen.Microsoft Had a Crazy Idea to Put Servers Under Water—and It Totally Worked | Vanessa Bates Ramirez | September 17, 2020 | Singularity Hub
Razing forests and peatlands unleashes carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in calamitous amounts.The Environmental Headache in Your Shampoo - Issue 90: Something Green | Anastasia Bendebury & Michael Shilo DeLay | September 16, 2020 | Nautilus
A sample return mission could be possible, in which a spacecraft flies into the atmosphere and bottles up some gas to bring back to Earth for laboratory analysis.
It felt as if the atmosphere itself was burning right above our heads, and we were trapped beneath it.For millions of Americans, the wildfires made climate change real | Michael J. Coren | September 15, 2020 | Quartz
The atmosphere on campuses has gotten repressive enough that comedian Chris Rock no longer plays colleges.
There is a long history of official anti-clericalism in Mexico, but the atmosphere in Tierra Caliente goes far beyond that.
However, several probes—most recently the Curiosity rover—have measured methane in the Martian atmosphere.
Visibly affected the by military atmosphere the young man admitted his emotions were volatile.
Over a decade, his teaching often took place in an atmosphere of what one cadet called “wanton disrespect.”
The tops of the hills were laden with thunder-clouds, and the turbid atmosphere laboured with the stifling Sirocco.The Pastor's Fire-side Vol. 3 of 4 | Jane Porter
The atmosphere seemed drawn taut before him as though it must any instant split open upon a sound of crying.The Wave | Algernon Blackwood
Meyer Isaacson stood for a moment looking round, feeling the atmosphere of this room, or at least trying to feel it.Bella Donna | Robert Hichens
This English country and these wonderful old houses, with their inimitable atmosphere, appeal to me very strongly.Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton
Isabel suddenly felt herself and her organdie absurdly out of place in this room with its enchantress atmosphere.Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton
British Dictionary definitions for atmosphere
the air or climate in a particular place: the atmosphere was thick with smoke
a general pervasive feeling or mood: an atmosphere of elation
the prevailing tone or mood of a novel, symphony, painting, or other work of art
a special mood or character associated with a place
any local gaseous environment or medium: an inert atmosphere
a unit of pressure; the pressure that will support a column of mercury 760 mm high at 0°C at sea level. 1 atmosphere is equivalent to 101 325 newtons per square metre or 14.72 pounds per square inch: Abbreviation: at, atm
- atmospheric or atmospherical, adjective
- atmospherically, adverb
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
Scientific definitions for atmosphere
The mixture of gases surrounding the Earth or other celestial body, held in place by gravity. It forms distinct layers at different heights. The Earth's atmosphere consists, in ascending order, of the troposphere (containing 90% of the atmosphere's mass), the stratosphere, the mesosphere, the thermosphere, and the exosphere. The atmosphere is composed primarily of nitrogen (78%) and oxygen (21%) and plays a major role in the water cycle, the nitrogen cycle, and the carbon cycle. See more at exosphere mesosphere stratosphere thermosphere troposphere.
A unit of pressure equal to the pressure of the air at sea level, about 14.7 pounds per square inch, or 1,013 millibars.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Cultural definitions for atmosphere
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.