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 ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.