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sphere (n.)

15世纪中叶, 中英文 spere (14世纪) 的拉丁化拼法“宇宙; 空间, 被设想为一个关于世界的空心球体”, 来自英法 espiere, 古法语 espere (13世纪, 现代法语 sphè re), 来自拉丁文 sphaera “地球, 球, 天球” (中世纪拉丁文 spera), 来自希腊文 sphaira “地球, 球, 玩球, 地球仪”, 词源不明.

来自14世纪末, 指宇宙中任何一个所谓的同心, 透明, 中空, 结晶的球体, 相信它们围绕地球旋转, 并包含行星和固定的恒星; 它们相互摩擦发出的所谓和谐的声音是 music of the spheres (14世纪末). 又从14世纪末作“地球仪; 球形的物体, 球”, 几何学意义上的“所有点都与中心等距离的实体图形”. 意为“某物, 地点或活动场景的范围”, 最早记载于17世纪(如 sphere of influence, 1885年, 原指英德在非洲的殖民争夺).

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Definitions of sphere from WordNet

sphere (n.)
a particular environment or walk of life;
his social sphere is limited
Synonyms: domain / area / orbit / field / arena
sphere (n.)
any spherically shaped artifact;
sphere (n.)
the geographical area in which one nation is very influential;
Synonyms: sphere of influence
sphere (n.)
a particular aspect of life or activity;
Synonyms: sector
sphere (n.)
a solid figure bounded by a spherical surface (including the space it encloses);
sphere (n.)
a three-dimensional closed surface such that every point on the surface is equidistant from the center;
sphere (n.)
the apparent surface of the imaginary sphere on which celestial bodies appear to be projected;
Synonyms: celestial sphere / empyrean / firmament / heavens / vault of heaven / welkin
From wordnet.princeton.edu