Meaning of ENVIRONMENT in English

en ‧ vi ‧ ron ‧ ment S1 W1 AC /ɪnˈvaɪrənmənt/ BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ environment , ↑ environmentalist ; adverb : ↑ environmentally ; adjective : ↑ environmental ]

[ Date: 1600-1700 ; Origin: environ 'to surround' (14-21 centuries) , from Old French environer , from environ 'around' , from viron 'circle' ]

1 . the environment the air, water, and land on Earth, which is affected by man’s activities:

Some of these chemicals are very damaging to the environment.

legislation to protect the environment

the effects of acid rain on the environment

the government minister for the environment

2 . [uncountable and countable] the people and things that are around you in your life, for example the buildings you use, the people you live or work with, and the general situation you are in:

The company had failed to provide a safe environment for its workers.

3 . [countable] the natural features of a place, for example its weather, the type of land it has, and the type of plants that grow in it ⇨ habitat :

a forest environment

a very adaptable creature that will eat different foods in different environments

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ verbs

▪ protect the environment

We need to take drastic steps to protect the environment.

▪ conserve the environment formal (=protect it and prevent it from changing or being damaged)

People need to live in harmony with nature and conserve the environment.

▪ harm/damage the environment

The government insists that the dam will not harm the environment.

▪ destroy the environment

We need to find ways of producing energy without destroying the environment.

▪ pollute the environment

Nuclear waste will pollute the environment for centuries.

▪ clean up the environment

It’s about time that we started cleaning up the environment.

■ adjectives

▪ the natural environment

Current methods of farming are damaging the natural environment.

▪ the marine environment (=the sea and the creatures that live there)

Fish farming poses a threat to the marine environment.

■ phrases

▪ be good/bad for the environment

Plastic bags are bad for the environment.

▪ be harmful to the environment

Emissions from cars are harmful to the environment.

▪ protection of the environment

In developing countries, protection of the environment is not a primary concern.

▪ conservation of the environment

There are many organizations dedicated to conservation of the environment.

▪ damage/harm to the environment

A lot of chemicals used in industry cause harm to the environment.

▪ the destruction of the environment

Logging has led to the destruction of the natural environment.

▪ pollution of the environment

The waste material must be stored safely to avoid pollution of the environment.

▪ the effect/impact on the environment

The building’s design will minimize its impact on the environment.


► Do not say ' hurt the environment '. Say harm the environment or damage the environment .

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + environment

▪ the physical environment (=the place where you live or work, including buildings, furniture etc)

Improvements to the physical environment range from removing graffiti to planting trees.

▪ the immediate environment (=the building in which you live or work, and the area very close to it)

Most accidents happen to young children within the immediate environment of their home.

▪ a safe environment

The playground provides a safe environment for children.

▪ a stable environment (=without any big changes)

They argued that being married helps provide a stable environment for bringing up children.

▪ a friendly/pleasant environment

The restaurant offers a stylish and friendly environment with first-class service.

▪ a clean/dirty environment

People who live in a very clean environment may have a lower immunity to germs.

▪ a competitive environment

Our business has to operate in an increasingly competitive environment.

▪ a working/learning environment

Most people prefer a quiet working environment.

▪ the home/domestic/family environment

A lot of children suffer because of problems in their home environment.

▪ the economic environment

The economic environment has changed, and many countries are sliding into recession.

▪ the business environment

In today’s fast-moving business environment, companies must be flexible.

▪ the political environment

Ministers are having to make these decisions in a difficult political environment.

▪ the cultural/social environment

Changes in the cultural environment affect people’s attitudes and values.

• • •


▪ the environment the air, water, and land on Earth, which is affected by man’s activities:

We need to do more to protect the environment.


How much does air travel damage the environment?

▪ ecosystem technical all the animals and plants that exist in a place, considered as a single system with parts that depend on each other:

the island’s fragile ecosystem


The rapid decline in the number of great sharks is disrupting the marine ecosystem.

▪ habitat the natural home of an animal or plant:

The tree can grow to be 120 feet tall in its natural habitat.

▪ the biosphere technical the Earth’s surface and atmosphere where animals and plants can live:

Scientists are monitoring changes in the global biosphere.

▪ ecology the scientific study of the way in which the animals, plants, and natural features of a place affect and depend on each other:

She’s studying marine ecology.

▪ green adjective [only before noun] relating to the environment or to protecting the environment:

Voters are becoming more concerned about green issues.


The party is keen to demonstrate its green credentials (=show that it thinks the environment is important) .

▪ eco- prefix relating to the environment and protecting the environment:

eco-friendly products (=which do not harm the environment)


eco-tourism (=which does not harm the environment)


eco-warrior (=someone who protests to try to save the environment)


eco-sensitive land (=where the environment is easily damaged)

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 3)

■ adjectives

▪ a coastal/desert/mountain etc environment

The storm caused significant damage to the coastal environment.

▪ an inhospitable/harsh environment (=one where the conditions make life difficult)

The freezing climate makes this one of the most inhospitable environments on the planet.

▪ a hostile environment (=with many difficulties and dangers)

It is difficult to see how anything can survive in such a hostile environment.

▪ a fragile environment (=easily damaged or destroyed)

Many people are worried about the impact of tourism on the region’s fragile environment.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.