1. the earth or globe, considered as a planet.
  2. (often initial capital letter) a particular division of the earth: the Western world.
  3. the earth or a part of it, with its inhabitants, affairs, etc., during a particular period: the ancient world.
  4. humankind; the human race; humanity: The world must eliminate war and poverty.
  5. the public generally: The whole world knows it.
  6. the class of persons devoted to the affairs, interests, or pursuits of this life: The world worships success.
  7. a particular class of people, with common interests, aims, etc.: the fashionable world.
  8. any sphere, realm, or domain, with all pertaining to it: a child’s world; the world of dreams; the insect world.
  9. everything that exists; the universe; the macrocosm.
  10. any complex whole conceived as resembling the universe: the world of the microcosm.
  11. one of the three general groupings of physical nature: animal world; mineral world; vegetable world.
  12. any period, state, or sphere of existence: this world; the world to come.
  13. Often worlds. a great deal: That vacation was worlds of fun.
  14. any indefinitely great expanse.
  15. any heavenly body: the starry worlds.
  1. bring into the world,
    1. to give birth to; bear: My grandmother brought nine children into the world.
    2. to deliver (a baby): the doctor brought many children into the world.
  2. come into the world, to be born: Her first child came into the world in June.
  3. for all the world,
    1. for any consideration, however great: She wouldn’t come to visit us for all the world.
    2. in every respect; precisely: You look for all the world like my Aunt Mary.
  4. in the world,
    1. at all; ever: I never in the world would have believed such an obvious lie.
    2. from among all possibilities: Where in the world did you find that hat?
  5. on top of the world. top1(def 47).
  6. out of this/the world, exceptional; fine: The chef prepared a roast duck that was out of this world.
  7. set the world on fire, to achieve great fame and success: He didn’t seem to be the type to set the world on fire.
  8. think the world of, to like or admire greatly: His coworkers think the world of him.
  9. world without end, for all eternity; for always.


  1. of or relating to a virtual online environmentmy in-world avatar


  1. the earth as a planet, esp including its inhabitants
  2. mankind; the human race
  3. people generally; the publicin the eyes of the world
  4. social or public lifeto go out into the world
  5. the universe or cosmos; everything in existence
  6. a complex united whole regarded as resembling the universe
  7. any star or planet, esp one that might be inhabited
  8. (often capital) a division or section of the earth, its history, or its inhabitantsthe Western World; the Ancient World; the Third World
  9. an area, sphere, or realm considered as a complete environmentthe animal world
  10. any field of human activity or way of life or those involved in itthe world of television
  11. a period or state of existencethe next world
  12. the total circumstances and experience of an individual that make up his life, esp that part of it relating to happinessyou have shattered my world
  13. a large amount, number, or distanceworlds apart
  14. worldly or secular life, ways, or people
  15. logic See possible world
  16. all the world and his wife a large group of people of various kinds
  17. bring into the world
    1. (of a midwife, doctor, etc) to deliver (a baby)
    2. to give birth to
  18. come into the world to be born
  19. dead to the world informal unaware of one’s surroundings, esp fast asleep or very drunk
  20. for the world (used with a negative) for any inducement, however great
  21. for all the world in every way; exactly
  22. give to the world to publish
  23. in the world (usually used with a negative) (intensifier)no-one in the world can change things
  24. man of the world or woman of the world a man or woman experienced in social or public life
  25. not long for this world nearing death
  26. on top of the world informal exultant, elated, or very happy
  27. informal wonderful; excellent
  28. set the world on fire to be exceptionally or sensationally successful
  29. the best of both worlds the benefits from two different or opposed ways of life, philosophies, etc
  30. think the world of to be extremely fond of or hold in very high esteem
  31. world of one’s own a state of mental detachment from other people
  32. world without end for ever
  33. (modifier) of or concerning most or all countries; worldwideworld politics; a world record
  34. (in combination) throughout the worldworld-famous

noun The World

  1. a man-made archipelago of 300 reclaimed islands built off the coast of Dubai in the shape of a map of the world. Area: 63 sq km (24 sq miles)

Old English woruld, worold “human existence, the affairs of life,” also “the human race, mankind,” a word peculiar to Germanic languages (cf. Old Saxon werold, Old Frisian warld, Dutch wereld, Old Norse verold, Old High German weralt, German Welt), with a literal sense of “age of man,” from Proto-Germanic *wer “man” (Old English wer, still in werewolf; see virile) + *ald “age” (see old).

Originally “life on earth, this world (as opposed to the afterlife),” sense extended to “the known world,” then to “the physical world in the broadest sense, the universe” (c.1200). In Old English gospels, the commonest word for “the physical world,” was Middangeard (Old Norse Midgard), literally “the middle enclosure” (cf. yard), which is rooted in Germanic cosmology. Greek kosmos in its ecclesiastical sense of “world of people” sometimes was rendered in Gothic as manaseþs, literally “seed of man.”

The usual Old Norse word was heimr, literally “abode” (see home). Words for “world” in some other Indo-European languages derive from the root for “bottom, foundation” (e.g. Irish domun, Old Church Slavonic duno, related to English deep); the Lithuanian word is pasaulis, from pa- “under” + saule “sun.” Original sense in world without end, translating Latin saecula saeculorum, and in worldly. Latin saeculum can mean both “age” and “world,” as can Greek aion. World power in the geopolitical sense first recorded 1900. World-class is attested from 1950, originally of Olympic athletes.

In addition to the idioms beginning with world

  • world is one’s oyster, the
  • world of good, a

also see:

  • all over the place (world)
  • best of both worlds
  • bring into the world
  • come up (in the world)
  • dead to the world
  • for all the world
  • go out (of the world)
  • in one’s own world
  • it’s a small world
  • laugh and the world laughs with you
  • man of the world
  • move up (in the world)
  • not for all the tea in china (for the world)
  • on earth (in the world), what
  • on top of the world
  • out of this world
  • set the world on fire
  • think a lot (the world) of
  • third world
  • with the best will in the world

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