Definition of atmosphere in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈatməsfɪə/


[usually in singular]
1The envelope of gases surrounding the earth or another planet: part of the sun’s energy is absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere
More example sentences
  • So, trapped in the musty atmosphere of planet earth, they appear clumsy and fragile.
  • What happens to the charged particles which came from the sun after they hit the atmosphere of the earth?
  • During this time it will be collecting images of the surface and collating information about the atmosphere surrounding the Red Planet.
air, aerosphere, airspace, sky
literary the heavens, the firmament, the vault of heaven, the blue, the wide blue yonder, the azure, the ether, the welkin, the empyrean, the upper regions, the sphere
1.1The air in any particular place: these beetles breed best in a damp atmosphere
More example sentences
  • The air was stale and the dusty atmosphere was enough to make all of them hesitant to breathe.
  • Dusty atmosphere and physical exertions are extremely harmful for heart patients.
  • To replace some of the moisture that central heating takes out of the atmosphere, hang a damp towel over a radiator or place a bowl of water next to one.
1.2 (abbreviation atm) Physics A unit of pressure equal to mean atmospheric pressure at sea level, 101,325 pascals.
Example sentences
  • Furthermore, our measurements of 10 atm of adhesion pressure strongly contradict the suction hypothesis.
  • In the dilution stage, however, the internal pressure stays the same while the external pressure drops to zero, resulting in a pressure difference of 104 atm.
  • A Langevin piston was used to maintain the pressure at 1 atm.
2The pervading tone or mood of a place, situation, or creative work: the hotel has won commendations for its friendly, welcoming atmosphere
More example sentences
  • Soothing music playing in the background created a relaxing atmosphere, setting the tone for the evening.
  • An atmosphere of pervading gloom hung in the air.
  • Such festivals attract large groups of young people together in an atmosphere of welcome, adventure and celebration.
ambience, aura, climate, air, mood, feel, feeling, character, tone, overtone, undertone, tenor, spirit, quality, aspect, element, undercurrent, flavour, colour, colouring, look, impression, suggestion, emanation;
environment, milieu, medium, background, backdrop, setting, context;
surroundings, environs, conditions, circumstances, vibrations
informal vibe, vibes
rare subcurrent
2.1 [mass noun] A pleasurable and interesting mood: a superb restaurant, full of atmosphere
More example sentences
  • I know people who have done small city marathons and given up, because it had no atmosphere and they lost interest.
  • Nothing can prepare you for the passion, atmosphere, humour, hatred and complete lack of interest in the quality of football that the majority of fans display.
  • Buckner's interests move more toward atmosphere than concrete content, yet he never veers off too far into inscrutability or vagaries.


Mid 17th century: from modern Latin atmosphaera, from Greek atmos 'vapour' + sphaira 'ball, globe'.

  • This word meaning literally ‘ball of vapour’ is from modern Latin atmosphaera, from Greek atmos ‘vapour’ and sphaira ‘globe’.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: at¦mos|phere

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.