environment

[en-vahy-ruhn-muhnt, -vahy-ern-]
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noun
  1. the aggregate of surrounding things, conditions, or influences; surroundings; milieu.
  2. Ecology. the air, water, minerals, organisms, and all other external factors surrounding and affecting a given organism at any time.
  3. the social and cultural forces that shape the life of a person or a population.
  4. Computers. the hardware or software configuration, or the mode of operation, of a computer system: In a time-sharing environment, transactions are processed as they occur.
  5. an indoor or outdoor setting that is characterized by the presence of environmental art that is itself designed to be site-specific.

Origin of environment

First recorded in 1595–1605; environ + -ment
Related formsen·vi·ron·men·tal, adjectiveen·vi·ron·men·tal·ly, adverbin·ter·en·vi·ron·men·tal, adjectivenon·en·vi·ron·men·tal, adjectivenon·en·vi·ron·men·tal·ly, adverbpre·en·vi·ron·men·tal, adjectivepro·en·vi·ron·men·tal, adjective
Can be confusedbiosphere ecology ecosystem environment habitat

Synonyms for environment

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1. locale, environs. Environment, milieu, ambiance, setting, surroundings all refer to what makes up the atmosphere or background against which someone or something is seen. Environment may refer either to actual physical surroundings or to social or cultural background factors: an environment of crime and grinding poverty. Milieu, encountered most often in literary writing, refers to intangible aspects of the environment: an exhilarating milieu of artistic ferment and innovation. Ambiance applies to the atmosphere of the surroundings, their mood or tone: an ambiance of ease and elegance. Setting suggests a background that sets something off: a perfect setting for the emerald. Surroundings alludes specifically to the physical aspects of the environment: awoke in strange surroundings; blend in with her surroundings.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for environment

Contemporary Examples of environment

Historical Examples of environment

  • They are as animals grown in an environment that demands no struggle of them.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Certain faculties develop in response to the pressure of environment.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • He will not so long correspond with an environment even so unexacting as this.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • They are victims of their elders' folly, of our carelessness as to their environment.

  • A kind of net for effecting an involuntary change of environment.


British Dictionary definitions for environment

environment

noun
  1. external conditions or surroundings, esp those in which people live or work
  2. ecology the external surroundings in which a plant or animal lives, which tend to influence its development and behaviour
  3. the state of being environed; encirclement
  4. computing an operating system, program, or integrated suite of programs that provides all the facilities necessary for a particular applicationa word-processing environment
Derived Formsenvironmental, adjectiveenvironmentally, 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

Word Origin and History for environment
n.

c.1600, "state of being environed" (see environ + -ment); sense of "nature, conditions in which a person or thing lives" first recorded 1827 (used by Carlyle to render German Umgebung); specialized ecology sense first recorded 1956.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

environment in Medicine

environment

[ĕn-vīrən-mənt, -vīərn-]
n.
  1. The totality of circumstances surrounding an organism or group of organisms, especially the combination of external physical conditions that affect and influence the growth, development, and survival of organisms.
Related formsen•vi′ron•mental (-mĕntl) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

environment in Science

environment

[ĕn-vīrən-mənt]
  1. All of the biotic and abiotic factors that act on an organism, population, or ecological community and influence its survival and development. Biotic factors include the organisms themselves, their food, and their interactions. Abiotic factors include such items as sunlight, soil, air, water, climate, and pollution. Organisms respond to changes in their environment by evolutionary adaptations in form and behavior.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.