(ĕn-vī′rən-mənt, -vī′ərn-)n.1.

a. The totality of the natural world, often excluding humans: “Technology, of course, lies at the heart of man’s relationship with the environment” (Mark Hertsgaard).

b. A subset of the natural world; an ecosystem: the coastal environment.

c. The combination of external physical conditions that affect and influence the growth, development, behavior, and survival of organisms: “Conditions in a lion’s environment … can drive it to hunt people” (Philip Caputo).

d. The complex of social and cultural conditions affecting the nature of an individual person or community.

2. The general set of conditions or circumstances: a terrible environment for doing business.


a. The entire set of conditions under which one operates a computer, as it relates to the hardware, operating platform, or operating system.

b. An area of a computer’s memory used by the operating system and some programs to store certain variables to which they need frequent access.



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

2. (Biology) 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. (Computer Science) computing an operating system, program, or integrated suite of programs that provides all the facilities necessary for a particular application: a word-processing environment.

enˌvironˈmental adj

enˌvironˈmentally adv


(ɛnˈvaɪ rən mənt, -ˈvaɪ ərn-)


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

2. 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. the hardware or software configuration of a computer system.


en•vi`ron•men′tal, adj.

en•vi`ron•men′tal•ly, adv.

syn: environment, milieu, ambiance, setting refer to the objects, conditions, or circumstances that influence the life of an individual or community. environment may refer to physical or to social and cultural surroundings: an environment of grinding poverty. milieu, encountered most often in literary writing, refers to intangible surroundings: a milieu of artistic innovation. ambiance applies to the mood or tone of the surroundings: an ambiance of ease and elegance. setting tends to highlight the person or thing surrounded by or set against a background: a lovely setting for a wedding.



All of the physical, chemical, and biological conditions that together act on an organism or an ecological community and influence its growth and development. Soil, air, water, climate, plant and animal life, noise level, and pollution are all components of an environment. To survive, organisms must often adapt to changes in their environments.


See also atmosphere; biology; climate; earth.


the study of the relationship of flowers to their environment. — anthoecologic, anthoecological, adj.


the study of the effects upon each other of environment and race. — anthroposociologic, anthroposociological, adj.


the study of an individual organism, or the species regarded collectively, in relation to environment. — autecologic, autecological, adj.


the study of the interrelation of plants and animals in their common environment. — bioecologist, n.


ecology, Also bionomy. — bionomist, n. — bionomic, bionomical, adj.




the transplanting of a plant to a new environment.


destruction of the environment.

ecology, oecology

1. the branch of biology that studies the relationship of organisms and environments. Also called bionomics, bionomy.
2. the branch of sociology that studies the environmental spacing and interdependence of people and their institutions, as in rural or urban settings. — ecologist, oecologist, n. — ecologie, oecologic, ecological, oecological, adj.


any area or region regarded as a unit for ecological observation and study of the interrelationships between organisms and their environment.


a transitional area or zone between two different forms of vegetation, as between forest and plain. — ecotonal, adj.


a type or subspecies of life that is especially well adapted to a certain environment. — ecotypic, adj.


concern for and action on behalf of the environment and its preservation. — environmentalist, n.


the study of the relation of man to the environment in which he works and the application of anatomical, physiological, psychological, and engineering knowledge to the problems involved. Also called biotechnology. — ergonomic, adj.


a science concerned with improving the well-being of mankind through improvement of the environment. — euthenist, n.


a combination of genetics and ecology that studies animal species and their environment. — genecologist, n. — genecologic, genecological, adj.


an instrument for measuring impurities in the air. — konimetric, adj.


the measurement of impurities in the air by means of a konimeter. — konimetric, adj.

koniology, coniology

the study of atmospheric dust and other impurities in the air, as germs, pollen, etc., especially regarding their effect on plant and animal life.


the study of fogs and smogs, especially those affecting air pollution levels.


(of lakes) the quality of containing a low accumulation of dissolved nutrient salts, thus supporting little plant or animal life and having a high oxygen content owing to the low organic content. — oligotrophic, adj.

paleoecology, palaeoecology

the branch of ecology that studies the relationship of ancient plants and animals to their environments. — paleoecologic, palaeoecologic, paleoecological, palaeoecological, adj.


a person who is concerned with or active in the preservation of wildlife, historical sites, natural habitats, and other features of the environment.


the branch of ecology that studies the relationship between plant and animal communities and their environments. — synecologic, synecological, adj.


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