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sphere

[sfeer]
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noun
  1. Geometry.
    1. a solid geometric figure generated by the revolution of a semicircle about its diameter; a round body whose surface is at all points equidistant from the center. Equation: x2 + y2 + z2 = r2.
    2. the surface of such a figure; a spherical surface.
  2. any rounded body approximately of this form; a globular mass, shell, etc.
  3. Astronomy.
    1. a planet or star; heavenly body.
    2. celestial sphere.
    3. any of the transparent, concentric, spherical shells, or layers, in which, according to ancient belief, the planets, stars, and other heavenly bodies were set.
  4. the place or environment within which a person or thing exists; a field of activity or operation: to be out of one's professional sphere.
  5. a particular social world, stratum of society, or walk of life: His social sphere is small.
  6. a field of something specified: a sphere of knowledge.
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verb (used with object), sphered, spher·ing.
  1. to enclose in or as if in a sphere.
  2. to form into a sphere.
  3. to place among the heavenly spheres.
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Origin of sphere

1250–1300; < Late Latin sphēra, Latin sphaera globe < Greek sphaîra ball; replacing Middle English spere < Old French spere < Late Latin spēra, variant of sphēra
Related formssphere·less, adjectivesphere·like, adjectivesub·sphere, nounun·spher·ing, adjective

Synonyms

See more synonyms for sphere on Thesaurus.com
4. orbit, area, province, compass, realm, domain. 5. class, rank.

-sphere

  1. a combining form of sphere (planisphere); having a special use in the names of the layers of gases and the like surrounding the earth and other celestial bodies (ionosphere).
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sphere

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • There was nothing in her behaviour to indicate a consciousness of error from her sphere.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • And in the sphere of thought, no less than in the sphere of time, motion is no more.

    De Profundis

    Oscar Wilde

  • I've been living very economically for the sphere that seemed open to me.

  • Moreover, it did not take him out of his own sphere—the sphere which is watched by the police.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • Alice herself was to be removed from the sphere of her humble calling.


British Dictionary definitions for sphere

sphere

noun
  1. maths
    1. a three-dimensional closed surface such that every point on the surface is equidistant from a given point, the centre
    2. the solid figure bounded by this surface or the space enclosed by it. Equation: (x–a)² + (y–b)² + (z–c)² = r ², where r is the radius and (a, b, c) are the coordinates of the centre; surface area: 4π r ²; volume: 4π r ³/3
  2. any object having approximately this shape; globe
  3. the night sky considered as a vaulted roof; firmament
  4. any heavenly object such as a planet, natural satellite, or star
  5. (in the Ptolemaic or Copernican systems of astronomy) one of a series of revolving hollow globes, arranged concentrically, on whose transparent surfaces the sun (or in the Copernican system the earth), the moon, the planets, and fixed stars were thought to be set, revolving around the earth (or in the Copernican system the sun)
  6. particular field of activity; environmentthat's out of my sphere
  7. a social class or stratum of society
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verb (tr) mainly poetic
  1. to surround or encircle
  2. to place aloft or in the heavens
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Word Origin

C14: from Late Latin sphēra, from Latin sphaera globe, from Greek sphaira

-sphere

n combining form
  1. having the shape or form of a spherebathysphere
  2. indicating a spherelike enveloping massatmosphere
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Derived Forms-spheric, adj combining form
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 sphere

n.

1530s, restored spelling of Middle English spere (c.1300) "space, conceived as a hollow globe about the world," from Old French espere (13c.), from Latin sphaera "globe, ball, celestial sphere," from Greek sphaira "globe, ball," of unknown origin.

Sense of "ball, body of globular form" is from late 14c. Medieval astronomical meaning "one of the 8 (later 10) concentric, transparent, hollow globes believed to revolve around the earth and carry the heavenly bodies" is from late 14c.; the supposed harmonious sound they made rubbing against one another was the music of the spheres (late 14c.). Meaning "range of something" is first recorded c.1600 (e.g. sphere of influence, 1885, originally in reference to Anglo-German colonial rivalry in Africa). A spherical number (1640s) is one whose powers always terminate in the same digit as the number itself (5,6, and 10 are the only ones).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sphere in Medicine

sphere

(sfîr)
n.
  1. A ball-shaped or a globular body.
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Related formsspheral (sfîrəl) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

sphere in Science

sphere

[sfîr]
  1. A three-dimensional geometric surface having all of its points the same distance from a given point.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.