world / wərld/ • n. 1. (usu. the world) the earth, together with all of its countries, peoples, and natural features: he was doing his bit to save the world. ∎ (the world) all of the people, societies, and institutions on the earth: [as adj.] world affairs. ∎ [as adj.] denoting one of the most important or influential people or things of its class: they had been brought up to regard France as a world power. ∎ another planet like the earth: the possibility of life on other worlds. ∎ the material universe or all that exists; everything.2. a part or aspect of human life or of the natural features of the earth, in particular: ∎ a region or group of countries: the English-speaking world. ∎ a period of history: the ancient world. ∎ a group of living things: the animal world. ∎ the people, places, and activities to do with a particular thing: they were a legend in the world of British theater. ∎ human and social interaction: he has almost completely withdrawn from the world how inexperienced she is in the ways of the world. ∎ average, respectable, or fashionable people or their customs or opinions. ∎ (one's world) a person's life and activities: he felt his whole world had collapsed. ∎ everything that exists outside oneself. ∎ [in sing.] a stage of human life, either mortal or after death: in this world and the next. ∎ secular interests and affairs: parents are not viewed as the primary educators of their own children, either in the world or in the church.PHRASES: be not long for this world have only a short time to live.the best of both (or all possible) worlds the benefits of widely differing situations, enjoyed at the same time.bring someone into the world give birth to or assist at the birth of someone.come into the world be born.come up (or go down) in the world rise (or drop) in status, esp. by becoming richer (or poorer).in the world used for emphasis in questions, esp. to express astonishment or disbelief: why in the world did you not reveal yourself sooner?look for all the world like look precisely like (used for emphasis): fossil imprints that look for all the world like motorcycle tracks.man (or woman) of the world a person who is experienced in the ways of sophisticated society.not do something for the world not do something whatever the inducement: I wouldn't miss it for the world.out of this world inf. extremely enjoyable or impressive: an herb and lemon dressing that's out of this world.see the world travel widely and gain wide experience.think the world of have a very high regard for (someone): I thought the world of my father.the world, the flesh, and the devil all forms of temptation to sin.a (or the) world of a very great deal of: there's a world of difference between being alone and being lonely. (all) the world over everywhere on the earth.worlds apart very different or distant.
World Bank an international banking organization established to control the distribution of economic aid between member nations, and to make loans to them in times of financial crisis.
World Council of Churches an association established in 1948 to promote unity among the many different Christian Churches. Its member Churches number over 300, and include virtually all Christian traditions except Roman Catholicism and Unitarianism. Its headquarters are in Geneva.
World English the English language including all of its regional varieties, such as North American, Australian, New Zealand, and South African English.
World Heritage Site a natural or man-made site, area, or structure recognized as being of outstanding international importance and therefore as deserving special protection. Sites are nominated to and designated by the World Heritage Convention (an organization of UNESCO).
The world is one's oyster the world is one's prize; the whole world is available to one; perhaps originally with allusion to Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor (1597).
the world, the flesh, and the devil all forms of temptation to sin; the phrase comes from the Litany, ‘From all the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil, Good Lord, deliver us.’
World Trade Center a complex of buildings in New York featuring twin skyscrapers 110 storeys high, designed by Minoru Yamasaki and completed in 1972. It was destroyed, with great loss of life, when terrorists flew hijacked passenger planes into its twin towers on 11 September, 2001.
World War I another term for First World War, and World War 2 is another term for the Second World War.
World Wide Fund for Nature an international organization established (as the World Wildlife Fund) in 1961 to raise funds for projects including the conservation of endangered species or of valuable habitats. Its symbol is a panda, typifying endangered species.
World Wide Web a widely used information system on the Internet, which provides facilities for documents to be connected to other documents by hypertext links, enabling the user to search for information by moving from one document to another.
world without end for ever, eternally; a translation of Late Latin in saecula saeculorum to the ages of ages, as used in Morning Prayer and other services.
See also it takes all sorts to make a world, better be out of the world than out of the fashion, brave new world, set the world on fire, the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world, love makes the world go round, Seven Wonders of the World at seven, worlds.
Hence worldling (-LING1) XVI. worldly OE. woruldliċ; see -LY1.