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[strat-uh-sfeer] /ˈstræt əˌsfɪər/
the region of the upper atmosphere extending upward from the tropopause to about 30 miles (50 km) above the earth, characterized by little vertical change in temperature.
(formerly) all of the earth's atmosphere lying outside the troposphere.
any great height or degree, as the highest point of a graded scale.
1905-10; strat(um) + -o- + sphere
Related forms
[strat-uh-sfer-ik, -sfeer-] /ˌstræt əˈsfɛr ɪk, -ˈsfɪər-/ (Show IPA),
stratospherical, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for stratosphere
  • Don't buy anything because someone says it is going gangbusters or heading for the stratosphere.
  • The planet's surface cools, the stratosphere heats, photosynthesis is reduced.
  • It can stay aloft in the stratosphere for up to four days, powered by hydrogen.
  • In the stratosphere it has a profound effect on ozone and chlorine chemistry and water vapor.
  • The balloon soared into the stratosphere and eventually burst.
  • Ozone serves two major roles in the middle part of the atmosphere known as the stratosphere.
  • The plan is familiar: park an antenna high in the stratosphere and then relay signals to and from devices below.
  • And when it comes to vintage sofas, the best designed and best preserved are often in the same stratosphere.
  • Large volcanic eruptions spread cooling palls through the stratosphere.
  • Ozone absorbs sunlight, so less ozone means the stratosphere heats up less.
British Dictionary definitions for stratosphere


the atmospheric layer lying between the troposphere and the mesosphere, in which temperature generally increases with height
Derived Forms
stratospheric (ˌstrætəˈsfɛrɪk), stratospherical, adjective
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 stratosphere

1909, from French stratosphère, literally "sphere of layers," coined by French meteorologist Léon-Philippe Teisserenc de Bort (1855-1913) from Latin stratus "a spreading out" (from past participle stem of sternere "to spread out;" see structure (n.)) + French -sphère, as in atmosphère. The region where the temperature increases or remains steady as you go higher. [An earlier stratosphere, attested in English 1908 and coined in German 1901, was a geological term for part of the Earth's crust. It is now obsolete.]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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stratosphere in Science
The region of the Earth's atmosphere extending from the tropopause to about 50 km (31 mi) above the Earth's surface. The stratosphere is characterized by the presence of ozone gas (in the ozone layer) and by temperatures which rise slightly with altitude, due to the absorption of ultraviolet radiation. See also exosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, troposphere., See illustration at atmosphere.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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stratosphere in Culture
stratosphere [(strat-uh-sfeer)]

The region of the atmosphere of the Earth above the troposphere. The stratosphere begins at an altitude of seven to ten miles and extends to approximately thirty miles.

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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