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[bahy-uh-sfeer] /ˈbaɪ əˌsfɪər/
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.
Origin of biosphere
1895-1900; < German Biosphäre; see bio-, -sphere
Related forms
[bahy-uh-sfer-ik] /ˌbaɪ əˈsfɛr ɪk/ (Show IPA),
Can be confused Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for biosphere
  • 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 biosphere.
  • Radioactive pollutants now in the biosphere will be found there for generations.
  • Colleges and universities can only thrive if society and the biosphere are healthy.
  • Three recent books examine the dismal future that we have created for ourselves, our descendants, and the rest of the biosphere.
  • Each species is an integral component of a biosphere to which we are inextricably connected.
  • Atomic energy provided a new means of studying—even of changing— life processes and the surrounding biosphere.
  • All across this planet there are intensive and extensive attacks on the biosphere.
British Dictionary definitions for biosphere


the part of the earth's surface and atmosphere inhabited by living things
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for biosphere

1899, on model of German Biosphäre (1875), coined by German geologist Eduard Suess (1831-1914); see bio- + sphere.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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biosphere in Medicine

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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biosphere in Science
  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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biosphere in Culture
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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