Part of speech: noun
Origin: French, late 18th century
A surrounding culture and environment
The atmosphere or ambiance
Examples of Milieu in a sentence
"The mark of a good sci-fi novel is an elaborate milieu for the characters to inhabit. "
"The milieu of the neighborhood changed after the mega grocery store opened up. "
Popularity Over Time
With its French inspiration, milieu appears to be quite a sophisticated word. Its original usage was to describe one’s place in society — were you a member of the upper-crust milieu or were you working class? The definition has expanded to describe the general neighborhood and environmental surroundings, not just social standing.
Did you Know?
Milieu is a loan word, or a word taken from another language with no modification. In French, milieu means middle, or, just like in English, the setting or environment. There’s also a French phrase, “au milieu de,” which means “in the middle of.”