Etymology: Middle English, from Old English woruld human existence, this world, age (akin to Old High German weralt age, world); akin to Old English wer man, eald old — more at virile, old
Date: before 12th century
a. the earthly state of human existence
b. life after death — used with a qualifier <the next world> 2. the earth with its inhabitants and all things upon it 3. individual course of life ; career 4. the inhabitants of the earth ; the human race 5. a. the concerns of the earth and its affairs as distinguished from heaven and the life to come b. secular affairs 6. the system of created things ; universe 7. a. a division or generation of the inhabitants of the earth distinguished by living together at the same place or at the same time <the medieval world> b. a distinctive class of persons or their sphere of interest or activity <the academic world> <the digital world> 8. human society <withdraw from the world> 9. a part or section of the earth that is a separate independent unit 10. the sphere or scene of one's life and action <living in your own little world> 11. an indefinite multitude or a great quantity or distance <makes a world of difference> <a world away> 12. the whole body of living persons ; public <announced their discovery to the world> 13. kingdom 5 <the animal world> 14. a celestial body (as a planet) II. adjective Date: 12th century 1. of or relating to the world <a world championship> 2. a. extending or found throughout the world ; worldwide <brought about world peace> b. involving or applying to part of or the whole world <a world tour> <a world state> c. internationally recognized ; renowned, distinguished <a world authority on gemstones>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.