Definition of atmosphere in US English:



  • 1The envelope of gases surrounding the earth or another planet.

    ‘part of the sun's energy is absorbed by the earth's atmosphere’
    • ‘Then, once the rocket fuel has burnt out and the motor is jettisoned by the pilot, the slow glide back into the atmosphere and down to Earth can begin.’
    • ‘Ozone in the upper atmosphere protects life on Earth from harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun, which can cause sunburn and skin cancer.’
    • ‘On Earth, the atmosphere and the magnetosphere deflect the charged particles that stream in from the Sun at a million miles an hour: the solar wind.’
    • ‘It has a planet-like atmosphere more dense than Earth's.’
    • ‘Most of the world's scientists agree that these increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are causing the Earth to warm.’
    • ‘So, trapped in the musty atmosphere of planet earth, they appear clumsy and fragile.’
    • ‘This gas, comprising 1% of the atmosphere, covers the earth like a quilt and prevents the loss of heat to space.’
    • ‘During this time it will be collecting images of the surface and collating information about the atmosphere surrounding the Red Planet.’
    • ‘Carbon dioxide and some other gases in the atmosphere keep the Earth warm enough for life to thrive.’
    • ‘Siberian volcanoes spent 900,000 years spewing enough carbon into the atmosphere to raise Earth's temparature six degrees.’
    • ‘Five other spacecrafts also rocketed through the upper atmosphere of the planet that was earth.’
    • ‘Earth's atmosphere and its magnetic field manage to block most of the radiation from solar flares.’
    • ‘A paper on, for example, the Martian atmosphere typically would not cite publications on the atmospheres of other planets.’
    • ‘The reason that that is interesting is that we think that it bears a big resemblance to the atmosphere that Earth had in its early history 4 billion years ago.’
    • ‘Another intriguing feature of Titan's atmosphere is its apparent similarity to the atmosphere of the early Earth.’
    • ‘This influx of cold air into the lower atmosphere initiates a new ice age.’
    • ‘Sunlight traveling from space into the earth's atmosphere will undergo a large amount of refraction.’
    • ‘The higher a person rises above earth into the atmosphere, the less protection he has from this cosmic radiation.’
    • ‘Earth's gravitational force holds the atmosphere around the earth.’
    • ‘The atmosphere of the Earth is like a blanket that traps heat.’
    • ‘What happens to the charged particles which came from the sun after they hit the atmosphere of the earth?’
    • ‘The active breathing environment in a spacecraft cabin contains ten times more carbon dioxide than the atmosphere on Earth.’
    • ‘The atmosphere of the young Earth was rich in ammonia and methane, and was probably very hot.’
    • ‘The earth has an atmosphere, and rotates on its axis as it revolves around the sun.’
    • ‘But the atmosphere of the early Earth contained much less oxygen than it does today.’
    air, aerosphere, airspace, sky
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    1. 1.1 The air in any particular place.
      ‘we couldn't breathe in the dusty atmosphere of his apartment’
      • ‘The air was stale and the dusty atmosphere was enough to make all of them hesitant to breathe.’
      • ‘The pub I work for has a smoking bar and a non-smoking bar which allows people the freedom of choice to decide if they want to sit in a smoky atmosphere or a clean air environment.’
      • ‘Miss Smith said the damp has made the sickness she has felt through her pregnancy worse and fears the damp atmosphere could affect her baby's health.’
      • ‘Flying insects, some of which were very large owing to the oxygen-rich atmosphere, populated the air.’
      • ‘He shivered slightly in the damp atmosphere.’
      • ‘At that moment, from across the river on whose banks they waited, there came a dull clanking, the sound muted by the damp atmosphere.’
      • ‘The atmosphere is thin but breathable and the air temperature is approximately 10 degrees Celsius.’
      • ‘These love the damp atmosphere of a humid bathroom, but they don't all like shady spots.’
      • ‘The continued theme of constriction continues with the suggestion of a suffocating atmosphere in the thin air of high altitude, and the longing for a return to the previous life and the friends below.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Blackness mingled with the damp walls and cold air, and the atmosphere smelled of foul concoctions and wet rats.’
      • ‘The whole residence was blanketed in a dusty atmosphere that made me sneeze often when the windows were shut up tightly as they were on this particular day.’
      • ‘Dusty atmosphere and physical exertions are extremely harmful for heart patients.’
      • ‘Considering how many plants sit on my desk, and the dry atmosphere created by the air conditioning, swift action was required.’
    2. 1.2Physics A unit of pressure equal to mean atmospheric pressure at sea level, 101,325 pascals.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Furthermore, our measurements of 10 atm of adhesion pressure strongly contradict the suction hypothesis.’
      • ‘To prevent bubble formation during the measurements, an additional pressure of 1 atm was applied.’
      • ‘The pressure was kept at 1.0 atm using isotropic positional scaling and the temperature was controlled by Berendsen's method.’
      • ‘The simulations were run at constant pressure of 1 atm in all coordinate directions.’
  • 2The pervading tone or mood of a place, situation, or work of art.

    ‘the hotel is famous for its friendly, welcoming atmosphere’
    ‘this crisis further compounded the prevailing atmosphere of gloom’
    • ‘I'd always found it so easy to let myself get caught up in the festive atmosphere that seemed to pervade the season, and I suppose that's true even now.’
    • ‘There was a festival atmosphere in the air, with hundreds of people packing the streets for all of the events that had been organised.’
    • ‘If you are a plane enthusiast or interested in taking in the atmosphere at an air show, I have six car passes worth £17 each available for Saturday.’
    • ‘‘This sets a creative atmosphere for work and discussions,’ Grigorov said.’
    • ‘Such festivals attract large groups of young people together in an atmosphere of welcome, adventure and celebration.’
    • ‘But stumble and strain under an unceasing atmosphere of creative tension, and you'll get trampled.’
    • ‘But everybody was so down to earth, and the atmosphere was very relaxed.’
    • ‘There was a wonderful atmosphere as some breathtaking rallies were played.’
    • ‘Soothing music playing in the background created a relaxing atmosphere, setting the tone for the evening.’
    • ‘We are currently seeking new members, so if you enjoy bingo and would like to meet people in a friendly atmosphere, why not come along.’
    • ‘An atmosphere of camaraderie pervades the Academy.’
    • ‘The cyber cafe will provide a friendly atmosphere for people who have never used a computer to learn the basics and become more familiar with using the internet.’
    • ‘An apocalyptic atmosphere pervades, and makes the novel crucial reading for anyone with a passing interest in other humans and conflict.’
    • ‘Despite this, the atmosphere is friendly and welcoming.’
    • ‘They describe the atmosphere as creative and point out that a third of their visitors do not want to ride, just chill.’
    • ‘Even in the darkness of a damp February night there was a carnival atmosphere.’
    • ‘An electric atmosphere filled the air, as the lords, nobles and other important figures all along the table waited in anticipation for the show to begin.’
    • ‘The atmosphere is lively and creative, with drawings and craft objects in almost every classroom.’
    • ‘However, with supper came darkness, and as the sun went down, the atmosphere in the apartment got tense.’
    • ‘Though the film was shot in full color, sets and costumes alike draw heavily on muted tones, creating an atmosphere of age and mystery.’
    • ‘She looked startled by the question, and a hint of sadness pervaded the atmosphere around her.’
    • ‘An atmosphere of pervading gloom hung in the air.’
    ambience, aura, climate, air, mood, feel, feeling, character, tone, overtone, undertone, tenor, spirit, quality, aspect, element, undercurrent, flavour, colour, colouring, look, impression, suggestion, emanation
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    1. 2.1 A pleasurable and interesting or exciting mood.
      ‘a superb restaurant, full of atmosphere’
      • ‘Scent in the garden is indispensable, luring you outside to enjoy the hot balmy days of summer and adding mood and atmosphere to a space.’
      • ‘But most of the record showcases Gainsbourg's mastery of mood, atmosphere and orchestral innovation.’
      • ‘It might be wise to save your money until a collection of Morricone remixes is produced that properly highlights the composer's talent for mood and atmosphere.’
      • ‘Evans's writing is evocative and full of atmosphere, her plotting compelling and convincing.’
      • ‘These shortcomings are compounded by the film's claim to noir status, which would suggest a level of tension or excitement or at least atmosphere.’
      • ‘It is full of atmosphere and un-earthly impressions, even when it is just words on a piece of paper.’
      • ‘Finally there is anticipation, excitement, atmosphere.’
      • ‘But it is a small price to pay for such a great event, choc full of atmosphere and alive with positive energy.’
      • ‘Like me, they want to do music with passion, with involvement, with an enormous feeling of atmosphere, of imagination.’
      • ‘Buckner's interests move more toward atmosphere than concrete content, yet he never veers off too far into inscrutability or vagaries.’
      • ‘If you are looking to add some depth, atmosphere and interest to your images, then this is worth a look.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's fun, fast, friendly and full of atmosphere - and the food's good too.’
      • ‘In the four days we spent in St Petersburg we feasted on mood and atmosphere.’
      • ‘Irish bars such as Mustang Sally's, Flannery's and O'Reilly's are always worth the effort, for sheer atmosphere, ambience and fun.’
      • ‘I know people who have done small city marathons and given up, because it had no atmosphere and they lost interest.’
      • ‘These films were strong on atmosphere and often had interesting storylines and settings.’
      • ‘Dodge's writing is seriously fun; heaps of enthusiasm and lashings of atmosphere.’
      • ‘Backlit plants create mood and atmosphere, a trick used in full, tremendous force by architect extraordinaire Luis Barragan.’
      • ‘There are writers who describe country scenes most vividly, in ways that are full of atmosphere: Mauriac, Maupassant and the Provencal Giono, for example.’
      • ‘The screen effects provide warmth, mood and atmosphere - all the things a club manager needs to energise a crowd.’


Mid 17th century: from modern Latin atmosphaera, from Greek atmos ‘vapor’ + sphaira ‘ball, globe’.