a. The earth, especially together with the life it supports: a chemical found all over the world; an ecological disaster that could threaten the entire world.
b. The universe: how the ancients conceived the world.
a. Humankind considered as social beings; human society: turned her back on the world.
b. People as a whole; the public: The event amazed the world.
3. often World A specified part of the earth: the Western World.
4. A part of the earth and its inhabitants as known at a given period in history: the ancient world.
5. A realm or domain: the animal world; the world of imagination.
a. A sphere of human activity or interest: the world of sports.
b. A class or group of people with common characteristics or pursuits: the scientific world.
7. A particular way of life: the world of the homeless.
8. All that relates to or affects the life of a person: He saw his world collapse about him.
9. Secular life and its concerns: a man of the world.
a. Human existence; life: brought a child into the world.
b. A state of existence: the next world.
11. often worlds A large amount; much: did her a world of good; candidates that are worlds apart on foreign policy.
12. A celestial body such as a planet: the possibility of life on other worlds.
1. Of or relating to the world: a world champion.
2. Involving or extending throughout the entire world: a world crisis.
for all the world
In all respects; precisely: She looked for all the world like a movie star.
in the world
Used as an intensive: How in the world did they manage? I never in the world would have guessed.
out of this world Informal
Extraordinary; superb: The dinner was out of this world.
the world over
Throughout the world: known the world over.
world without end
[Middle English, from Old English weorold; see wī-ro- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.