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See also: atmosphère


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Alternative forms[edit]


From French atmosphère, from New Latin atmosphaera, from Ancient Greek ἀτμός (atmós, steam) + σφαῖρα (sphaîra, sphere); corresponding to atmo- +‎ -sphere.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈæt.məsˌfɪə(ɹ)/
  • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈætməsˌfɪɹ/
  • (file)


atmosphere (countable and uncountable, plural atmospheres)

  1. The gases surrounding the Earth or any astronomical body.
    Meronyms: see Thesaurus:atmosphere
    Coordinate terms: hydrosphere, biosphere
  2. The air in a particular place.
    • 1834, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter I, in Francesca Carrara. [], volume I, London: Richard Bentley, [], (successor to Henry Colburn), →OCLC, page 2:
      The last hue of crimson had died away in the west, and the depth of the rich purple atmosphere was unbroken.
    • 1913, Mrs. [Marie] Belloc Lowndes, chapter I, in The Lodger, London: Methuen, →OCLC; republished in Novels of Mystery: The Lodger; The Story of Ivy; What Really Happened, New York, N.Y.: Longmans, Green and Co., [], [1933], →OCLC, page 0016:
      Thus the red damask curtains which now shut out the fog-laden, drizzling atmosphere of the Marylebone Road, had cost a mere song, and yet they might have been warranted to last another thirty years. A great bargain also had been the excellent Axminster carpet which covered the floor; [].
  3. (figuratively) The conditions (such as music, illumination etc.) that can influence the mood felt in an environment.
    Synonyms: air, ambiance
  4. (figuratively) The apparent mood felt in an environment.
    Synonyms: feeling, mood
    • 1984, Ben Findon, Eddie Tucker, Steve Rodway (lyrics and music), “Atmosphere”, in I Love a Party, performed by Russ Abbot:
      Oh, what an atmosphere / I love a party with a happy atmosphere
  5. A unit of measurement for pressure equal to 101325 Pa (symbol: atm), approximately the atmospheric pressure at sea level.
  6. (television, film, uncountable) Extras in a scene who have no spoken lines.
    • 2006, Los Angeles Magazine, volume 51, number 2, page 100:
      Central Casting is in the business of extras, also known as atmosphere or background actors []
    • 2013, Kerry Segrave, Extras of Early Hollywood: A History of the Crowd, 1913-1945, page 38:
      "It is estimated conservatively that there are some 50,000 would-be film extras in and around the celluloid capital, persons who would jump at the opportunity to appear as atmosphere in pictures," Scott concluded.
    • 2015, William R. Phillippe, The Pastor's Diary:
      By the way, I discovered that we were not extras but background, as far as the director was concerned; and for the producer, we were atmosphere.

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