Definition of environment |

[ en-vahy-ruhn-muhnt, -vahy-ern- ]

/ ɛnˈvaɪ rən mənt, -ˈvaɪ ərn- /



the aggregate of surrounding things, conditions, or influences; surroundings; milieu.

Ecology. the air, water, minerals, organisms, and all other external factors surrounding and affecting a given organism at any time.

the social and cultural forces that shape the life of a person or a population.

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.

an indoor or outdoor setting that is characterized by the presence of environmental art that is itself designed to be site-specific.



How well do you know your adjectives from your adverbs? Your preposition from your pronouns? Your interjections from your conjunctions? Let’s put your knowledge of parts of speech to the text! Note: Many of the following questions will ask you to identify the parts of speech “in order.” That means the first word in all capital letters will correspond to the first option in an answer, and so on.

Question 1 of 10

In order, what parts of speech are the words in all capital letters? Alisa was VERY tired, SO she decided to go to bed.

Origin of environment

First recorded in 1595–1605; environ + -ment

SYNONYMS FOR environment

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.


OTHER WORDS FROM environment

en·vi·ron·men·tal, adjectiveen·vi·ron·men·tal·ly, adverbin·ter·en·vi·ron·men·tal, adjectivenon·en·vi·ron·men·tal, adjective

non·en·vi·ron·men·tal·ly, adverbpre·en·vi·ron·men·tal, adjectivepro·en·vi·ron·men·tal, adjective


biosphere ecology ecosystem environment habitat

Words nearby environment

envier, envious, enviro, environ, environ., environment, environmental art, environmental audit, environmental design, environmental health officer, environmental health service Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Words related to environment

status, climate, habitat, surroundings, setting, situation, ecosystem, atmosphere, entourage, domain, neighborhood, locale, terrain, scene, milieu, hood, zoo, territory, conditions, aura

Example sentences from the Web for environment

  • Genetics alone does not an eating disorder make, generally speaking, and Bulik points out that environment still plays a role.

    How Skinny Is Too Skinny? Israel Bans ‘Underweight’ Models|Carrie Arnold|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST

  • And in an environment where time is money, hooking up with an escort just might be the sensible thing to do.

    Career-Minded Women Turn to Male Escorts For No-Strings Fun and (Maybe) Sex|Aurora Snow|January 3, 2015|DAILY BEAST

  • Are you more pessimistic about the overall public education crisis given this current environment?

    Dr. Howard Fuller’s Injustice Education|Campbell Brown|December 21, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • For whatever reason, I grew up watching and loving horror movies—perhaps as a reaction to the environment I was growing up in.

    Tim Burton Talks ‘Big Eyes,’ His Taste For the Macabre, and the ‘Beetlejuice’ Sequel|Marlow Stern|December 17, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • So that time, and growing up in that environment, connected me to those films.

    Tim Burton Talks ‘Big Eyes,’ His Taste For the Macabre, and the ‘Beetlejuice’ Sequel|Marlow Stern|December 17, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • An artistic people is recognized by their ignorance of “objects of art,” for in such an environment art is everywhere.

    Musical Memories|Camille Saint-Sans

  • There are two constant factors in social life—the spirit of man and its environment.

    The Legacy of Greece|Various

  • But I must admit that there is at least a (p. 244) possibility that genera are not changed by environment, time or circumstances.

    War Letters of a Public-School Boy|Paul Jones.

  • Is heredity more influential in the development of man, intellectually and morally, than his environment?

    Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Debate Index|Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

  • When men talk much about heredity and environment they are almost barbarians.

    All Things Considered|G. K. Chesterton

British Dictionary definitions for environment


/ (ɪnˈvaɪrənmənt) /


external conditions or surroundings, esp those in which people live or work

ecology the external surroundings in which a plant or animal lives, which tend to influence its development and behaviour

the state of being environed; encirclement

computing an operating system, program, or integrated suite of programs that provides all the facilities necessary for a particular applicationa word-processing environment

Derived forms of environment

environmental, 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

Medical definitions for environment


[ ĕn-vī′rən-mənt, -vī′ərn- ]


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.

Other words from environment

en•vi′ron•men′tal (-mĕn′tl) adj.

The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for environment


[ ĕn-vī′rən-mənt ]

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.

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