en·vi·ron·ment (ĕn-vīrən-mənt, -vīərn-)
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.