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See more synonyms for biosphere on Thesaurus.com
  1. the part of the earth's crust, waters, and atmosphere that supports life.
  2. the ecosystem comprising the entire earth and the living organisms that inhabit it.
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Origin of biosphere

1895–1900; < German Biosphäre; see bio-, -sphere
Related formsbi·o·spher·ic [bahy-uh-sfer-ik] /ˌbaɪ əˈsfɛr ɪk/, adjective
Can be confusedbiosphere ecology ecosystem environment habitat
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for biosphere


  1. the part of the earth's surface and atmosphere inhabited by living things
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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

Word Origin and History for biosphere


1899, on model of German Biosphäre (1875), coined by German geologist Eduard Suess (1831-1914); see bio- + sphere.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

biosphere in Medicine


  1. All the regions of the earth and its atmosphere in which living organisms are found or can live.
  2. The living organisms and their environment composing the biosphere.
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Related formsbi′o•spheric (-sfîrĭk, -sfĕr-) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

biosphere in Science


  1. The parts of the land, sea, and atmosphere in which organisms are able to live. The biosphere is an irregularly shaped, relatively thin zone in which life is concentrated on or near the Earth's surface and throughout its waters.
  2. All the Earth's ecosystems considered as a single, self-sustaining unit.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

biosphere in Culture



The thin outer shell of the Earth and the inner layers of its atmosphere; the place where all living systems are found.

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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.