WORLD, a word which has developed a wide variety of meanings from its original etymological sense of the " age of man," " course of man's life." In O. Eng. it appears under its true form weoruld, being a compound of wer, man (cf. Lat. vir), and yldo, age, from eald, eld, old. Of the various meanings the principal are the earth (q.v.), as a planet, or a large division of the earth, such as the " old world," the eastern, the " new world," the western hemisphere; the whole of created things upon the earth, particularly its human inhabitants, mankind, the human race, or a great division of mankind united by a common racial origin, language, religion or civilization, etc. A derived meaning is that of social life, society, as distinct from a religious life.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)