Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


the natural world, including the land, water, air, plants, and animals, especially considered as something that is affected by human activity

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The noun environment was borrowed from a French word meaning the action of surrounding something. It has been used in English since the early 17th century, but the meaning above has only been around since the mid 20th century.


Today is World Environment Day, a day chosen by the United Nations for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. While the subjects of the environment and climate change have inevitably received less focus over recent months, they remain fundamentally important for the future of humanity and the planet. This year’s World Environment Day theme is Time for Nature and it chimes with the experience of many people who have reported that, among all the downsides, lockdown has given them the opportunity to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature in a way that they have never experienced before. Along with the many initiatives to encourage cycling and walking, perhaps another good thing to come out of this experience will be an enhanced awareness and appreciation of the natural world and increased determination to protect it.


Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not for every man’s greed.”
(Attributed to Mahatma Gandhi)

Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries.
(Jimmy Carter)

Related words

biosphere, ecology, nature

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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