Definition of world noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//wɜːld//
    ; NAmE NAmE//wɜːrld//
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    the earth/its people
  1. 1  the world [singular] the earth, with all its countries, peoples and natural features to sail around the world travelling (all over) the world a map of the world French is spoken in many parts of the world. Which is the largest city in the world? He's the world's highest paid entertainer. a meeting of world leaders campaigning for world peace
  2. 2  [countable, usually singular] a particular part of the earth; a particular group of countries or people; a particular period of history and the people of that period the Arab world the English-speaking world the industrialized and developing worlds the ancient/modern world see also First World, New World, Old World, Third World
  3. another planet
  4. 3[countable] a planet like the earth There may be other worlds out there.
  5. type of life
  6. 4  [countable] the people or things belonging to a particular group or connected with a particular interest, job, etc. the animal/plant/insect world the world of fashion stars from the sporting and artistic worlds
  7. 5  [usually singular] (usually used with an adjective) everything that exists of a particular kind; a particular kind of life or existence the natural world (= animals, plants, minerals, etc.) They are a couple in the real world as well as in the movie. The island is a world of brilliant colours and dramatic sunsets. They had little contact with the outside world (= people and places that were not part of their normal life).
  8. person’s life
  9. 6  [singular] a person’s environment, experiences, friends and family, etc. Parents are the most important people in a child's world. When his wife died, his entire world was turned upside down.
  10. imagined environment
  11. 7[countable] an environment that is imagined or constructed, for example in a computer game Computer games create whole virtual worlds. The game comprises four separate worlds, each split into six levels. You're living in a fantasy world! Maybe in the best of all possible worlds things would be different.
  12. society
  13. 8  [singular] our society and the way people live and behave; the people in the world We live in a rapidly changing world. He's too young to understand the ways of the world. The whole world was waiting for news of the astronauts. She felt that the world was against her. The eyes of the world are on the President.
  14. 9the world [singular] a way of life where possessions and physical pleasures are important, rather than spiritual values monks and nuns renouncing the world see also olde worlde, old-world
  15. human existence
  16. 10[singular] the state of human existence this world and the next (= life on earth and existence after death)
  17. Word OriginOld English w(e)oruld, from a Germanic compound meaning ‘age of man’; related to Dutch wereld and German Welt.Extra examples Although they are twins, they are worlds apart in their attitude to life. Aren’t you interested in the world outside your window? As a young man, he wanted to see the world before he settled down. Astronomers across the world will be watching the night sky. At this age, babies are starting to take an interest in the world around them. Can you imagine a world without possessions? Children often have their own private world. Communist parties were formed on a world scale after the Russian Revolution. Computer games create whole virtual worlds. Fast food outlets seem to be taking over the world. First World consumers will have to eat less meat. For the first time since the death of her parents, she felt able to face the world. He closed his eyes and tried to shut out the world. He entered the world of politics in 1997. He felt he was the luckiest man in the whole world. He felt ready to take on the world when he finished college. He has never before featured in the top ten world rankings. He is at the head of a world media empire. He is on a quest to rid the world of evil. He just wanted to shut himself away from the rest of the world. He likes to sit outside his front door and watch the world go by. He seems to think that the world owes him a living. He wanted to tell the world how happy he was. He was easily beaten by the reigning world champion. He was so happy to leave school, he felt ready to take on the world. He’s too young to understand the ways of the world. He’s well known in the fashion world. Heads of state from all over the Arab world gathered for the conference. His world fell apart when his wife died. I like living in the country because I’m interested in the natural world. I tapped on the window to get her attention but she was in a world of her own. I’m sure we’ll meet again. It’s a very small world in this profession. In an ideal world, I’d like to work just three days a week. In the Western world, there is a different attitude to marriage. In the real world things don’t always happen like they do in books. In the world of finance there is little room for sentiment. In today’s globalized world, telecommunications have broken down boundaries. It won’t be the end of the world if you don’t get the job. It’s an interesting part of the world. Machismo is a New World phenomenon with roots in Old World cultures. Many people imagine the world ending with an explosion. Mediums claim to receive messages from the spirit world. One of these days, humankind will destroy the world. People throughout the world will be watching the big game on television. Scientists the world over have been waiting for this breakthrough. She enjoys creating imaginary worlds for children. She had brought six children into the world. She has to deal with the day-to-day world of bills, schools, and problems. She lives in her own inner world. She shattered the world record for the 200 metres. She tends to divide the world into ‘winners’ and ‘losers’. She thinks the world revolves around her and her schedule. She told him he was her only friend in the whole wide world. She was determined to show the world that she was no loser. Show business gave him the chance to escape into another world. Sweden leads the world in safety legislation. Teachers influence the world view of their young students. Technology has remade the world. The Portuguese team looked like world beaters in last night’s game. The band are about to embark on a six-month world tour. The bombing alienated world opinion. The ceremony was watched live by millions around the world. The country became an important player on the world stage. The eyes of the world are on the president. The movie had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. The movie is set in a bizarre post-apocalyptic world. The news of the assassination shook the world. The team is world class. The wider world learned of his illness months after he told his family. There is a whole other world outside school. These tribesmen are proud survivors of a vanishing world. They believe that God created the world. This is an imperfect world, and we have to compromise. Throughout his time in prison he had no contact with the outside world. We come from different worlds. We come into the world with nothing. World oil prices continue to rise. Young people always think they are going to change the world. a medieval map of the known world a meeting of the major world powers a young writer who is taking the world by storm different ways of looking at the world scientists of world renown the architects’ vision of a brave new world of pristine concrete the major world religions the new world order marked by American dominance In the ancient world, the jobs of miller and baker were usually combined. The book has sold 12 million copies in the English-speaking world and has been translated into six languages. The motto was inscribed on buildings throughout the Roman world.Idioms
    be all the world to somebody
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    to be loved by and very important to somebody
    to be giving all your attention to something so that you do not notice what is happening around you When he’s listening to music he’s lost to the world.
    the best of both worlds/all possible worlds
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    the benefits of two or more completely different situations that you can enjoy at the same time If you enjoy the coast and the country, you'll get the best of both worlds on this walk.
    to be completely different in attitudes, opinions, etc. a situation or society that changes in a way that is meant to improve people’s lives but is often a source of extra problems the brave new world of technology
    come/go down/up in the world
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    to become less/more important or successful in society
    (literary) to be born fast asleep
    do somebody/something the world of good
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    to make somebody feel much better; to improve something A change of job would do you the world of good.
    for all the world as if/though…, for all the world like somebody/something
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    (formal) exactly as if…; exactly like somebody/something She behaved for all the world as if nothing unusual had happened. He looked for all the world like a schoolboy caught stealing apples.
    have the world at your feet
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    to be very successful and admired
    how, why, etc. in the world
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    (informal) used to emphasize something and to show that you are surprised or annoyed What in the world did they think they were doing?
    in an ideal/a perfect world
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    used to say that something is what you would like to happen or what should happen, but you know it cannot In an ideal world we would be recycling and reusing everything.
     used to emphasize what you are saying There's nothing in the world I'd like more than to visit New York. Don't rush—we've got all the time in the world. You look as if you haven't got a care in the world!
    (be/live) in a world of your own
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    if you are in a world of your own, you are so concerned with your own thoughts that you do not notice what is happening around you
    (saying) used to express your surprise when you meet somebody you know in an unexpected place, or when you are talking to somebody and find out that you both know the same person
    a man/woman of the world
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    a person with a lot of experience of life, who is not easily surprised or shocked
    not the end of the world
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    (informal) not the worst thing that could happen to somebody Failing one exam is not the end of the world.
    not for (all) the world
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    used to say that you would never do something I wouldn't hurt you for the world.
    (informal) used to refer to people of a particular type We all envy the Bill Gateses of this world (= the people who are as rich and successful as Bill Gates). very happy or proud See related entries: Happiness (informal) used to emphasize how good, beautiful, etc. something is The meal was out of this world.
    promise (somebody) the earth/moon/world
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    (informal) to make promises that will be impossible to keep Politicians promise the earth before an election, but things are different afterwards.
    to travel widely and gain wide experience
    set the world on fire (British English also set the world alight)
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    (informal) (usually used in negative sentences) to be very successful and gain the admiration of other people He's never going to set the world on fire with his paintings.
    set/put the world to rights
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    to talk about how the world could be changed to be a better place We stayed up all night, setting the world to rights.
    to relax and watch people in a public place We sat outside a cafe, watching the world go by. the way that most people behave; the way that things happen, which you cannot change The rich and powerful make the decisions—that's the way of the world.
    what is the world coming to?
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    used to express disapproval, surprise or shock, especially at changes in people’s attitudes or behaviour When I listen to the news these days, I sometimes wonder what the world is coming to.
    with the best will in the world
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    used to say that you cannot do something, even though you really want to With the best will in the world I could not describe him as a good father.
    (all) the world and his wife
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    (British English, informal, humorous) everyone; a large number of people
    a world away (from something)
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    used to emphasize how different two things are His new luxury mansion was a world away from the tiny house where he was born.
    the world is your oyster
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    there is no limit to the opportunities open to you With talent like that, the world is her oyster.
    a/the world of difference
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    (informal) used to emphasize how much difference there is between two things There's a world of difference between liking someone and loving them.
    everywhere in the world People are basically the same the world over.
    the worst of all (possible) worlds
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    all the disadvantages of every situation
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: world