"The world" is a proper noun for the planet Earth envisioned from an anthropocentric or human worldview, as a place inhabited by human beings and other terrestrial lifes. It is often used to signify the sum of human experience and history, or the 'human condition' in general. ['This is the excellent foppery of the world...' -- Shakespeare, "King Lear", I.ii] The world population is approximately 6.68 billion people. [ Updated March, 2008: [ CIA's The World Factbook] (see also The World Factbook)]

In a metaphysical context, "World" may refer to everything that constitutes reality and the Universe: see World (philosophy).


In English, "" may be parsed as rooted in a compound of the obsolete words "were," "man", and "eld," "age"; thus, its etymology may be semantically rendered as "age or life of man". [ [ "American Heritage Dictionary" ] ] Compare to the word for "world" in a closely related language to English, Dutch, which is "wereld." [ [ "Het Van Dale woordenboek van de Nederlandse taal" ] ]


'World' distinguishes the entire planet or population from any particular country or region: "world affairs" are those which pertain not just to one place but to the whole world, and "world history" is a field of history which examines events from a global (rather than a national or a regional) perspective. "Earth", on the other hand, refers to the planet as a physical entity, and distinguishes it from other planets and physical objects.

'"World"' can also be used attributively, as an adjective, to mean 'global', 'relating to the whole world', forming usages such as World community. See World (adjective).

By extension, a '"world"' may refer to any planet or heavenly body, especially when it is thought of as inhabited.

'"World"', when qualified, can also refer to a particular domain of human experience.

* The "world of work" describes paid work and the pursuit of a career, in all its social aspects, to distinguish it from home life and academic study.
* The "fashion world" describes the environment of the designers, fashion houses and consumers that make up the fashion industry.
* The "New World" is a part of the world discovered or colonized by Europeans later than other parts; it usually refers to the American continents or to Australia. Native Americans and Native Australians tend to dislike this usage. For them America and Australia are not new. Their ancestors have lived there since time immemorial. The "Old World" refers, by contrast, to the continents of Europe, Asia and north Africa.


Earth is the only place in the universe where life is known by humanity to exist at this time.Scientific evidence indicates that the planet formed 4.54 billion years ago,cite book
first=G.B. | last=Dalrymple | year=1991
title=The Age of the Earth
publisher=Stanford University Press | location=California
id=ISBN 0-8047-1569-6
] [cite web
first=William L.
date=July 9, 2007
title=Age of the Earth
publisher=Publications Services, USGS
] [cite journal
first=G. Brent
title=The age of the Earth in the twentieth century: a problem (mostly) solved
journal=Geological Society, London, Special Publications
] [cite web
date=September 10, 2005
title=The Age of the Earth
publisher=The TalkOrigins Archive
] and life appeared on its surface within a billion years. Since then, Earth's biosphere has significantly altered the atmosphere and other abiotic conditions on the planet, enabling the proliferation of aerobic organisms as well as the formation of the ozone layer which, together with Earth's magnetic field, blocks harmful radiation, permitting life on land. [cite book
first=Roy M. | last=Harrison
coauthors=Hester, Ronald E. | year=2002
title=Causes and Environmental Implications of Increased UV-B Radiation
publisher=Royal Society of Chemistry
id=ISBN 0854042652

Earth's outer surface is divided into several rigid segments, or tectonic plates, that gradually migrate across the surface over periods of many millions of years. About 71% of the surface is covered with salt-water oceans, the remainder consisting of continents and islands; liquid water, necessary for all known life, is not known to exist on any other planet's surface. [Other planets in the solar system are either too hot or too cold to support liquid water. However, it is confirmed to have existed on the surface of Mars in the past, and may still appear today. See: cite news
title=Rover reveals Mars was once wet enough for life
date=March 2, 2007
cite news
title=Simulations Show Liquid Water Could Exist on Mars
publisher=University of Arkansas
date=November 7, 2005
] [As of 2007, water vapor has been detected in the atmosphere of only one extrasolar planet, and it is a gas giant. See: cite journal
last=G. Tinetti et al.
title=Water vapour in the atmosphere of a transiting extrasolar planet
journal=Nature | date=July, 2007 | volume=448
pages=169–171 | doi= 10.1038/nature06002
] Earth's interior remains active, with a thick layer of relatively solid mantle, a liquid outer core that generates a magnetic field, and a solid iron inner core.

The earth consists of seven continents listed as follows: North America, South America, Antarctica, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia; the largest of which is Asia. There are several other methods of determining the continents.

Earth is impacted upon by other objects in outer space, including the Sun and the Moon. At present, Earth orbits the Sun once for every roughly 365.26 times it rotates about its axis. This length of time is a sidereal year, which is equal to 365.26 solar days. [The number of solar days is one less than the number of sidereal days because the orbital motion of the Earth about the Sun results in one additional revolution of the planet about its axis.] The Earth's axis of rotation is tilted 23.4° away from the perpendicular to its orbital plane, [Ahrens, "Global Earth Physics: A Handbook of Physical Constants", p. 8.] producing seasonal variations on the planet's surface with a period of one tropical year (365.24 solar days). Earth's only known natural satellite, the Moon, which began orbiting it about 4.53 billion years ago, provides ocean tides, stabilizes the axial tilt and gradually slows the planet's rotation. A cometary bombardment during the early history of the planet played a role in the formation of the oceans.cite journal | author=Morbidelli, A.; Chambers, J.; Lunine, J. I.; Petit, J. M.; Robert, F.; Valsecchi, G. B.; Cyr, K. E. | title=Source regions and time scales for the delivery of water to Earth | journal=Meteoritics & Planetary Science | year=2000 | volume=35 | issue=6 | pages=1309–1320 | url= | accessdate=2007-03-06 ] Later, asteroid impacts caused significant changes to the surface environment.


Humans, or human beings, are bipedal primates belonging to the mammalian species "Homo sapiens". Compared to other species, humans have a highly developed brain capable of abstract reasoning, language, and introspection. This mental capability, combined with an erect body carriage that frees their upper limbs for manipulating objects, has allowed humans to make far greater use of tools than any other species. DNA evidence indicates that modern humans originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago. [ [ The Smithsonian Institution, Human Origins Program] ] Humans now inhabit every continent and low Earth orbit, with a total population of over 6.68 billion humans as of March 2008.cite web
title=World POPClock Projection
publisher=U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division/International Programs Center

Like most primates, humans are social by nature. However, humans are particularly adept at utilizing systems of communication for self-expression, the exchange of ideas, and organization. Humans create complex social structures composed of many cooperating and competing groups, from families to nations. Social interactions between humans have established an extremely wide variety of traditions, rituals, ethics, values, social norms, and laws which form the basis of human society. Humans have a marked appreciation for beauty and aesthetics which, combined with the human desire for self-expression, has led to cultural innovations such as art, literature and music.

Humans are noted for their desire to understand and influence the world around them, seeking to explain and manipulate natural phenomena through science, philosophy, mythology and religion. This natural curiosity has led to the development of advanced tools and skills; humans are the only extant species known to build fires, cook their food, clothe themselves, and use numerous other technologies.


A summary of world development:
*The universe is continuing its metric expansion.
*Our galaxy is approaching its neighbor
*The Sun is shining brighter and brighter.
*The Earth's surface is getting hotter.
*Species are becoming fewer.
*Humans are increasing in number.
*Human life expectancy, literacy, education, standard of living, and GDP per capita are increasing.
*technology and socioculture are also developing.
*Global businesses are also increasing.

ee also

* Earth
* Planet
* World map
* Globe
* Universe
* Humanity

External links

*CIA World Factbook link|xx|World


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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 — [wʉrld] n. [ME < OE werold, world, humanity, long time, akin to OHG weralt < early WGmc comp. < * wera , man (see WEREWOLF) + * alth , an age, mankind (for IE base see OLD): basic sense “the age of man”] 1. a) the planet earth b) the… …   English World dictionary

  • 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 …   Etymology 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 — world1 W1S1 [wə:ld US wə:rld] n ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(our planet/everyone on it)¦ 2 in the world 3¦(the society we live in)¦ 4¦(group of countries )¦ 5¦(time in history)¦ 6¦(somebody s life and experiences)¦ 7¦(area of activity/work)¦… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • 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

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