world

world O.E. woruld, worold "human existence, the affairs of life," also "the human race, mankind," a word peculiar to Germanic languages (Cf. O.S. werold, O.Fris. warld, Du. wereld, O.N. verold, O.H.G. weralt, Ger. Welt), with a literal sense of "age of man," from P.Gmc. *wer "man" (O.E. wer, still in werewolf; see VIRILE (Cf. virile)) + *ald "age" (see OLD (Cf. 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 O.E. gospels, the commonest word for "the physical world," was Middangeard (O.N. Midgard), lit. "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, lit. "seed of man."
The usual O.N. word was heimr, lit. "abode" (see home). Words for "world" in some other I.E. languages derive from the root for "bottom, foundation" (Cf. Ir. domun, O.C.S. duno, related to English deep); the Lithuanian word is pasaulis, from pa- "under" + saule "sun." Original sense in world without end, translating L. saecula saeculorum, and in WORLDLY (Cf. worldly). L. saeculum can mean both "age" and "world," as can Gk. aion. World power in the geopolitical sense first recorded 1900. World-class is attested from 1950, originally of Olympic athletes.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • World — <p></p> <p></p> Introduction ::World <p></p> Background: <p></p> Globally, the 20th century was marked by: (a) two devastating world wars; (b) the Great Depression of the 1930s; (c) the end of vast… …   The World Factbook

  • world — [ wɜrld ] noun *** 1. ) singular society in general, in all countries: We want to guarantee our children a safer world. all over the world/throughout the world: The same problems are faced by children throughout the world. the whole world: Since… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • World — World, n. [OE. world, werld, weorld, weoreld, AS. weorold, worold; akin to OS. werold, D. wereld, OHG. weralt, worolt, werolt, werlt, G. welt, Icel. ver[ o]ld, Sw. verld, Dan. verden; properly, the age of man, lifetime, humanity; AS. wer a man +… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • world — ► NOUN 1) (the world) the earth with all its countries and peoples. 2) a region or group of countries: the English speaking world. 3) all that belongs to a particular period or sphere of activity: the theatre world. 4) (one s world) a person s… …   English terms dictionary

  • world — UK US /wɜːld/ noun [C, usually singular] ► a particular area of activity: »Our world of work is changing rapidly. »the world of advertising/the internet »the business/corporate world …   Financial and business terms

  • world — [n1] planet, globe cosmos, creation, earth, heavenly body, macrocosm, microcosm, nature, sphere, star, terrene, universe; concepts 511,770 world [n2] class of existing beings class, division, everybody, everyone, group, humanity, humankind, human …   New thesaurus

  • world|ly — «WURLD lee», adjective, li|er, li|est, adverb. –adj. 1. of this world; not of heaven: »worldly wealth, worldly knowledge, worldly ambition. SYNONYM(S): mundane. See syn. under earthly. (Cf. ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • world — universe, *earth, cosmos, macrocosm …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • world — /werrld/, n. 1. the earth or globe, considered as a planet. 2. (often cap.) 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 …   Universalium

  • world — noun 1 the earth/its people ADJECTIVE ▪ known ▪ a medieval map of the known world ▪ entire, whole VERB + WORLD ▪ create …   Collocations dictionary

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