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 the report was published, the whole world has changed.
a ) only before noun involving or affecting all countries:
She won medals at three previous world championships.
the world economy
a world war
b ) used about a particular group of countries:
It is the oldest institution in the English-speaking world.
This disease is increasing dramatically in the western world (=the countries of western Europe and North America).
c ) used about a particular society at a particular time in history:
Attitudes toward death were very different in the Egyptian world.
This library was one of the wonders of the Ancient World.
d ) used about ordinary society and its moral values, rather than religious or spiritual matters:
It was a choice between the world and God.
e ) if someone moves up or down in the world, they move to a higher or lower social class:
move/come/go up in the world: She's gone up in the world, by marrying into money.
go/come down in the world: If you're used to driving the newer models, you may feel that you've come down in the world.
f ) usually singular used about the particular type of place or situation in which someone lives or works:
the entertainment world
the world of work
Children feel powerful in the world of imagination that they create.
We see the characters as equal although they are each from very different worlds.
2. ) the world the planet that we live on:
We observe changes in the world's climate.
a ) count any other planet:
creatures from alien worlds
3. ) singular MAINLY LITERARY the state of being alive:
bring a child into the world: I wouldn't want to bring a child into this cruel world.
come into the world (=be born): Thousands of babies come into the world every day.
leave/depart this world (=die) LITERARY: There's something I want to do before I depart this world.
be/mean the world to someone INFORMAL
used for emphasizing that someone or something is very important to someone:
It wasn't a great bike, but meant the world to me as a kid.
She means the world to me.
for (all) the world
used for emphasis:
She looked for all the world like a girl I knew at school (=she looked exactly like her).
A leading company wouldn't give up its market position for the world.
in the world
1. ) used for general emphasis:
There's nothing in the world we can do about it.
We have all the time in the world.
2. ) used for emphasizing a particular quality that something has:
They produce some of the finest wines in the world.
We spent a night at the dirtiest hotel in the world.
3. ) used for adding emphasis to a question, especially because you are surprised or angry:
how/what/where etc. in the world: How in the world did they make a mistake like that?
What in the world were you thinking when you did that?
in a world of your own
not realizing what is happening around you because you are thinking about something else:
She was lost in a world of her own.
not long for this world MAINLY LITERARY
used for saying that someone is going to die soon
have the world at your feet
1. ) to be extremely popular or famous
2. ) to have a lot of opportunities to do interesting and exciting things
a man/woman of the world
a man/woman who has had a lot of experience of life and is not easily shocked by things such as immoral or unusual behavior
out of this world INFORMAL
extremely good or impressive:
The skiing and the mountains were just out of this world!
the outside world
ordinary society, rather than places such as prisons or religious communities where people live separately from other people
see the world
to travel to many different countries
set the world on fire INFORMAL
to do something that creates a great deal of interest or excitement:
She's good, but she's not going to set the world on fire.
set/put the world to rights MAINLY BRITISH HUMOROUS
to have a conversation with someone in which you exchange opinions
think the world of INFORMAL
to like someone or something very much
think the world owes you a living/think the world revolves around you
to think that you are more important, interesting, etc. than other people
what is the world coming to?
used for showing surprise or anger when you do not approve of what someone has done
a world/worlds apart
completely different from each other
the world is your oyster
used for emphasizing that you can go anywhere or do anything that you want to
a world of difference
used for emphasizing the difference between two people or things:
There's a world of difference between the two situations.
a/the world of good
if something does you a world of good, it makes you feel very happy or healthy:
A vacation will do them a world of good.

Usage of the words and phrases in modern English. 2013.