The Word Environment Comes From An Old French Word Meaning

The precise origin of the term “environment” is unknown. <In-Viron-n-ment comes:

(a) the term “turn” which originates in:

the Greek “gyros” (circle, tower) then in its Latin transformation “gyrare” and “in gyrum”;

in Latin “virare”, (spinning);

in the Gaulish “viria” (ring, bracelet).

The three origins have mixed with time. To “turn”, the former French-made “viron” meaning “turn” or “round”.

These origins go back anyway, at least for the first two to the same Indo-European origin.

b) then the prefix “en” was added to “viron” to give “about” (around, around – attested end XIth)

The Word Environment Comes From An Old French Word Meaning

The Word Environment Comes From An Old French Word Meaning

c) then the word “environ” which is a verb that means surrounding

d) and finally from the verb, we formed a name “environmenz” with a suffix “-menz” coming from the Latin suffix “-mentum”, from the XIIIeme in the sense of “circuit, contour” then at the end of the XVth in the sense of “environmental action”.


The environment is the set of natural and cultural elements in which living things are found.

We can therefore distinguish:

– the environment in the strict sense of biologists understood as the set of natural elements that surround an individual (human, animal, plant) or its species;

– the wider environment, ie all the natural and cultural conditions which constitute the framework of the life of a human individual and are likely to act on it.

Recently, with the rise of computing, the word has taken on a new meaning and refers to all the resources (hardware and software) needed to operate a computer system.

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Ex (1st sense): Every day, we can all contribute to the protection of our environment by performing simple actions such as recycling waste.


English: environment
Spanish: entorno
word formed from the competing root tor- who gave turn in French

German expresses the same idea by different roots:
umwelt (the idea of ​​the world)
umfeld (field idea)