world (n.)

Old English woruld, worold "human existence, the affairs of life," also "a long period of time," also "the human race, mankind, humanity," a word peculiar to Germanic languages (cognates: Old Saxon werold, Old Frisian warld, Dutch wereld, Old Norse verold, Old High German weralt, German Welt), with a literal sense of "age of man," from Proto-Germanic *weraldi-, a compound of *wer "man" (Old English wer, still in werewolf; see virile) + *ald "age" (from PIE root *al- (2) "to grow, nourish").

Originally "life on earth, this world (as opposed to the afterlife)," sense extended to "the known world," then to "the physical world in the broadest sense, the universe" (c. 1200). In Old English gospels, the commonest word for "the physical world," was Middangeard (Old Norse Midgard), literally "the middle enclosure" (see yard (n.1)), which is rooted in Germanic cosmology. Greek kosmos in its ecclesiastical sense of "world of people" sometimes was rendered in Gothic as manaseþs, literally "seed of man." The usual Old Norse word was heimr, literally "abode" (see home). Words for "world" in some other Indo-European languages derive from the root for "bottom, foundation" (such as Irish domun, Old Church Slavonic duno, related to English deep); the Lithuanian word is pasaulis, from pa- "under" + saulė "sun."

Original sense in world without end, translating Latin saecula saeculorum, and in worldly. Latin saeculum can mean both "age" and "world," as can Greek aiōn. Meaning "a great quantity or number" is from 1580s. Out of this world "surpassing, marvelous" is from 1928; earlier it meant "dead." World Cup is by 1951; U.S. baseball World Series is by 1893 (originally often World's Series). World power in the geopolitical sense first recorded 1900. World-class is attested from 1950, originally of Olympic athletes.

updated on November 03, 2018

Definitions of world from WordNet
world (n.)
everything that exists anywhere;
world (n.)
people in general; especially a distinctive group of people with some shared interest;
the Western world
Synonyms: domain
world (n.)
all of your experiences that determine how things appear to you;
his world was shattered
we live in different worlds
Synonyms: reality
world (n.)
the 3rd planet from the sun; the planet we live on;
he sailed around the world
Synonyms: Earth / earth / globe
world (n.)
people in general considered as a whole;
Synonyms: populace / public
world (n.)
a part of the earth that can be considered separately;
the outdoor world
the world of insects
world (n.)
the concerns of this life as distinguished from heaven and the afterlife;
they consider the church to be independent of the world
Synonyms: worldly concern / earthly concern / earth
world (n.)
all of the living human inhabitants of the earth;
all the world loves a lover
Synonyms: human race / humanity / humankind / human beings / humans / mankind / man
world (adj.)
involving the entire earth; not limited or provincial in scope;
a world crisis
Synonyms: global / planetary / worldwide / world-wide
From, not affiliated with etymonline.