I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we only tune in.~ George Washington CarverNature
, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world
, physical world
, or material world
. "Nature" refers to the phenomena
of the physical world, and also to life
in general. It ranges in scale from the subatomic to the cosmic
The word nature
is derived from the Latin word natura
, or "essential qualities, innate disposition", and literally means "birth". Natura
was a Latin translation of the Greek word physis
(φύσις), which originally related to the intrinsic characteristics that plants, animals, and other features of the world develop of their own accord.
The concept of nature as a whole, the physical universe
, is one of several expansions of the original notion; it began with certain core applications of the word φύσις by pre-Socratic philosophers, and has steadily gained currency ever since. This usage was confirmed during the advent of modern scientific method
in the last several centuries.
Within the various uses of the word today, "nature" may refer to the general realm of various types of living plants and animals, and in some cases to the processes associated with inanimate objects–the way that particular types of things exist and change of their own accord, such as the weather
of the Earth, and the matter
of which all these things are composed. It is often taken to mean the "natural environment
" or wilderness
–wild animals, rocks, forest, beaches, and in general those things that have not been substantially altered by human intervention, or which persist despite human intervention.