- The sum of the total of the elements, factors and conditions in the surroundings which may have an impact on the development, action or survival of an organism or group of organisms. The environment is as opposed to genetics. We are the product of our genetic inheritance and our environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the American government agency charged to "protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment — air, water, and land — upon which life depends."
* * *The milieu; the aggregate of all of the external conditions and influences affecting the life and development of an organism. It can be divided into physical, biological, social, cultural, etc., any or all of which can influence the health status of the population. [Fr. environ, around]
* * *en·vi·ron·ment in-'vī-rən-mənt, -'vī(-ə)rn- n1) the complex of physical, chemical, and biotic factors (as climate, soil, and living things) that act upon an organism or an ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival2) the aggregate of social and cultural conditions that influence the life of an individual or communityen·vi·ron·men·tal -.vī-rən-'ment-əl, -.vī(-ə)rn- adjen·vi·ron·men·tal·ly -əl-ē adv
* * *n.any or all aspects of the surroundings of an organism, both internal and external, which influence its growth, development, and behaviour.
* * *en·vi·ron·ment (en-viґron-mənt) [Fr. environner to surround, to encircle] the sum total of all the conditions and elements making up the surroundings and influencing the development and actions of an individual.
Medical dictionary. 2011.