the part of the earth's crust, waters, and atmosphere that supports life.
the ecosystem comprising the entire earth and the living organisms that inhabit it.

1895–1900; < German Biosphäre; see bio-, -sphere

biospheric [bahy-uh-sfer-ik] , adjective

biosphere, ecology, ecosystem, environment, habitat. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
biosphere (ˈbaɪəˌsfɪə)
the part of the earth's surface and atmosphere inhabited by living things

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1899, on model of Ger. Biosphäre (1875), coined by Ger. geologist Eduard Suess (18311914), from bio- + sphere.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

biosphere bi·o·sphere (bī'ə-sfēr')

  1. All the regions of the earth and its atmosphere in which living organisms are found or can live.

  2. The living organisms and their environment composing the biosphere.

bi'o·spher'ic (-sfēr'ĭk, -sfěr'-) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
biosphere   (bī'ə-sfîr')  Pronunciation Key 
  1. The parts of the land, sea, and atmosphere in which organisms are able to live. The biosphere is an irregularly shaped, relatively thin zone in which life is concentrated on or near the Earth's surface and throughout its waters.

  2. All the Earth's ecosystems considered as a single, self-sustaining unit.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
biosphere [(beye-uh-sfeer)]

The thin outer shell of the Earth and the inner layers of its atmosphere; the place where all living systems are found.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The biosphere is that layer around the earth which holds life.
Our biosphere may be finite, but it varies considerably and its potential size
  is unknown.
All told, water accounts for more than 95 percent of the biosphere.
Indeed, plants likely created Earth's life-friendly oxygen- and nitrogen-rich
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