[ at-muhs-feer ]
/ ˈæt məsˌfɪər /


verb (used with object), at·mos·phered, at·mos·pher·ing.

to give an atmosphere to: The author had cleverly atmosphered the novel for added chills.



We’ve gathered some interesting words donated to English from Portuguese … as well as some that just don’t translate at all. Do you know what they mean?
Question 1 of 11
Which of the following animal names traces its immediate origin to Portuguese?

Origin of atmosphere

From the New Latin word atmosphaera, dating back to 1630–40. See atmo-, -sphere

historical usage of atmosphere

Atmosphere has a very simple etymology: it comes from New Latin atmosphaera, a compound noun composed of Greek atmós “vapor, steam, odor” and sphaîra “ball, globe, terrestrial or planetary sphere, eyeball, boxing gloves.” Neither Greek noun has a reliable etymology.
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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for atmosphere

British Dictionary definitions for atmosphere

/ (ˈætməsˌfɪə) /


Derived forms of atmosphere

atmospheric or atmospherical, adjectiveatmospherically, 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

Medical definitions for atmosphere

[ ătmə-sfîr′ ]


A gas surrounding a given body; a gaseous medium.
A unit of pressure equal to the air pressure at sea level, approximately equal to 1.01325 X 105 newtons per square meter.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for atmosphere

[ ătmə-sfîr′ ]

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 blanket of gas on the surface of a planet or satellite.

notes for atmosphere

The atmosphere of the Earth is roughly eighty percent nitrogen and twenty percent oxygen, with traces of other gases. (See ionosphere, stratosphere, and troposphere.)
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.