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To be used for either meaning (air around the planet, or aura/feeling of a location) of the word atmosphere.

Earth and vacuum are the closest I can think of for air atmosphere, but all I can come up with for aura is to describe it using negatives.

Are there true antonyms for either definition of atmosphere?

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closed as unclear what you're asking by tchrist, MrHen, Mari-Lou A, choster, Brian Hooper Jan 12 '14 at 11:21

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Could you give us an example of this word in a sentence? I don't understand how the atmosphere of a location could have an antonym. Vacuum is a perfectly good antonym for the sense of gases surrounding a planet. – terdon Oct 23 '13 at 15:13
I'm not sure what would conceptually be an antonym of either. In general, there aren't antonyms for concrete nouns. What's the opposite of a car? Lack of a car? Vacuum is good for lack of atmosphere/air, but I'm not sure there is a single word for lack of atmosphere/aura. Void? – Kevin Oct 23 '13 at 15:17
I don't think you understand what "antonym" means. It's a fairly rare phenomenon and requires a presupposed graded scale. Most words don't have such a scale. – John Lawler Oct 23 '13 at 15:32
What, precisely, does "opposite" mean? It presupposes a graded scale like freezing ~ cold ~ cool ~ tepid ~ warm ~ hot ~ boiling. In what dimensional scale does Atmosphere oppose ... what? Hydrosphere? Lithosphere? Magnetosphere? – John Lawler Oct 23 '13 at 19:44
@JohnP The problem is that the appropriate antonym of a word can vary depending on context. In what respect is an atmosphere significant that you would expect an antonym to invert? – user867 Oct 24 '13 at 2:56

Most antonyms related to "atmosphere" are going to revolve around specific atmospheres:

The atmosphere is inhabitable. — The atmosphere is uninhabitable.

The atmosphere/aura in here is electric! — The atmosphere/aura in here is dead.

The opposite of having an atmosphere is simply not having one. This could also be described as "vacuum":

That moon has no atmosphere. — That moon has an atmosphere.

That moon is surrounded by an atmosphere. — That moon is surrounded by a vacuum.

There is one other concept that could work as an antonym of atmosphere and this relates to the idea of the atmosphere as a location:

The creature lives in the atmosphere of that moon.

The creature lives on the surface of that moon.

The creature lives in space near that moon.

In this sense, both "surface" and "space" could be considered antonyms but it would technically be more accurate to say that "atmosphere" has no antonym.

In short, "vacuum" could be used as an antonym given the appropriate context and usage but it only truly relates to the air/environment surrounding a celestial body. I can see a rather weak argument for "surface" or "space" but it is stretching the definition of "antonym" quite a bit. There is no appropriate antonym for aura unless you choose to define one as such for the sake of a story:

Alice was surrounded by a tangible atmosphere/aura but Bob only had vacuum.

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mmm, I don't think surface and space are antonyms of atmosphere in any sense. The only word in your answer that fits is "vacuum" and that's not really used correctly either. Something is in a vacuum, not surrounded by a vacuum. – Kristina Lopez Oct 23 '13 at 18:30
@KristinaLopez: The first sentence on Wikipedia's article on atmosphere of the Moon uses "surrounded by vacuum". I suppose I added "a" and can remove that if you think it matters enough. And I explicitly mentioned that "surface" and "space" really aren't antonyms. Is there a way I can make it more clear in the post? – MrHen Oct 23 '13 at 18:40
Sorry, I was wrong about vacuum usage. As to the other issue, I guess I'm getting a mixed message because of this sentence: "In short, "surface", "space" and "vacuum" could all be used as antonym given the appropriate context and usage but all three of these relate to the air/environment surrounding a celestial body." – Kristina Lopez Oct 23 '13 at 19:54
Ah, I see. I'll edit that part to be a little more clear. – MrHen Oct 23 '13 at 20:31

ambience for "feeling of a location"

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Wouldn't ambience be a synonym? My dictionary defines it as "ambience -- atmosphere: the typical atmosphere or mood of a place" – MrHen Oct 23 '13 at 15:57

Used figuratively, if a place has [an] atmosphere, it has some distinctive (but not necessarily explicitly specified) characteristic or ambience. Some other place lacking any such characteristic could thus be described as...

nondescript - having no special or interesting qualities, parts, etc. : typical and uninteresting

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Do note that you can still say "This place has a nondescript atmosphere." Wouldn't it more accurate to say that "nondescript" is really an antonym of a particular type of atmosphere? – MrHen Oct 23 '13 at 16:41
@MrHen: Personally, I'd say that "nondescript atmosphere" is a fairly odd thing to say, given that anyone who used it would (presumably) mean "This place has no atmosphere." – FumbleFingers Oct 23 '13 at 16:46
Well, it would literally mean "this place has [no special] [mood or tone]." You could just as easily describe a room with a nondescript decor. – MrHen Oct 23 '13 at 16:59
@MrHen: Obviously, the interpretation of figurative usages like this is somewhat subjective. But I would point out that Google Books claims just 70 instances of nondescript atmosphere, against 10,300 for distinctive atmosphere. That's about 150:1 for "atmosphere" being associated with "special or interesting qualities", whereas the ratio for distinctive/nondescript decor is less than 10:1 ("decor" has no particular "interesting" associations, so that ratio simply reflects the relative prevalence of the two adjectives). – FumbleFingers Oct 23 '13 at 17:29
I don't see how Google Books hit counts are relevant. We aren't talking about frequency of usage; we are talking about whether something is an antonym. – MrHen Oct 23 '13 at 17:39

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