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The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

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 + a word akin to E. old; cf. AS. yld lifetime, age, ylde men, humanity. Cf. Werewolf, Old.] [1913 Webster] 1. The earth and the surrounding heavens; the creation; the system of created things; existent creation; the universe. [1913 Webster] The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen. --Rom. 1. 20. [1913 Webster] With desire to know, What nearer might concern him, how this world Of heaven and earth conspicuous first began. --Milton. [1913 Webster] 2. Any planet or heavenly body, especially when considered as inhabited, and as the scene of interests analogous with human interests; as, a plurality of worlds. "Lord of the worlds above." --I. Watts. [1913 Webster] Amongst innumerable stars, that shone Star distant, but high-hand seemed other worlds. --Milton. [1913 Webster] There may be other worlds, where the inhabitants have never violated their allegiance to their almighty Sovereign. --W. B. Sprague. [1913 Webster] 3. The earth and its inhabitants, with their concerns; the sum of human affairs and interests. [1913 Webster] That forbidden tree, whose mortal taste Brought death into the world, and all our woe. --Milton. [1913 Webster] 4. In a more restricted sense, that part of the earth and its concerns which is known to any one, or contemplated by any one; a division of the globe, or of its inhabitants; human affairs as seen from a certain position, or from a given point of view; also, state of existence; scene of life and action; as, the Old World; the New World; the religious world; the Catholic world; the upper world; the future world; the heathen world. [1913 Webster] One of the greatest in the Christian world Shall be my surety. --Shak. [1913 Webster] Murmuring that now they must be put to make war beyond the world's end -- for so they counted Britain. --Milton. [1913 Webster] 5. The customs, practices, and interests of men; general affairs of life; human society; public affairs and occupations; as, a knowledge of the world. [1913 Webster] Happy is she that from the world retires. --Waller. [1913 Webster] If knowledge of the world makes man perfidious, May Juba ever live in ignorance. --Addison. [1913 Webster] 6. Individual experience of, or concern with, life; course of life; sum of the affairs which affect the individual; as, to begin the world with no property; to lose all, and begin the world anew. [1913 Webster] 7. The inhabitants of the earth; the human race; people in general; the public; mankind. [1913 Webster] Since I do purpose to marry, I will think nothing to any purpose that the world can say against it. --Shak. [1913 Webster] Tell me, wench, how will the world repute me For undertaking so unstaid a journey? --Shak. [1913 Webster] 8. The earth and its affairs as distinguished from heaven; concerns of this life as distinguished from those of the life to come; the present existence and its interests; hence, secular affairs; engrossment or absorption in the affairs of this life; worldly corruption; the ungodly or wicked part of mankind. [1913 Webster] I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. --John xvii. 9. [1913 Webster] Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. --1 John ii. 15, 16. [1913 Webster] 9. As an emblem of immensity, a great multitude or quantity; a large number. "A world of men." --Chapman. "A world of blossoms for the bee." --Bryant. [1913 Webster] Nor doth this wood lack worlds of company. --Shak. [1913 Webster] A world of woes dispatched in little space. --Dryden. [1913 Webster] All . . . in the world, all that exists; all that is possible; as, all the precaution in the world would not save him. A world to see, a wonder to see; something admirable or surprising to see. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] O, you are novices; 't is a world to see How tame, when men and women are alone, A meacock wretch can make the curstest shrew. --Shak. [1913 Webster] For all the world. (a) Precisely; exactly. (b) For any consideration. Seven wonders of the world. See in the Dictionary of Noted Names in Fiction. To go to the world, to be married. [Obs.] "Thus goes every one to the world but I . . .; I may sit in a corner and cry heighho for a husband!" --Shak. World's end, the end, or most distant part, of the world; the remotest regions. World without end, eternally; forever; everlastingly; as if in a state of existence having no end. [1913 Webster] Throughout all ages, world without end. --Eph. iii. 21. [1913 Webster]
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:

135 Moby Thesaurus words for "world": Africa, America, Antipodes, Asia, Asia Major, Asia Minor, Australasia, Copernican universe, Earth, East, Eastern Hemisphere, Einsteinian universe, Eurasia, Europe, Everyman, Far East, Gaea, Ge, John Doe, Levant, Middle East, Near East, New World, Newtonian universe, Occident, Oceania, Old World, Orient, Ptolemaic universe, Public, Tellus, Terra, West, Western Hemisphere, abundance, acres, all, all being, all creation, allness, bags, barrels, biosphere, body politic, bushel, citizenry, common man, commonwealth, community, community at large, continent, copiousness, cosmos, countlessness, created nature, created universe, creation, down under, eastland, estate, everybody, everyman, everyone, everything that is, everywoman, expanding universe, flood, folk, folks, general public, gentry, geography, geosphere, globe, landmass, load, macrocosm, macrocosmos, mass, megacosm, men, metagalaxy, mother earth, mountain, much, multitude, nation, nationality, nature, numerousness, ocean, oceans, omneity, peck, people, people in general, persons, plenitude, plenty, plenum, polity, populace, population, profusion, public, pulsating universe, quantities, quantity, sea, sidereal universe, society, spate, state, steady-state universe, sum of things, superabundance, superfluity, system, terra, terrestrial globe, the blue planet, the old country, this pendent world, tons, totality, totality of being, universe, vale, vale of tears, volume, whole wide world, wide world, world without end, worlds, you and me
CIA World Factbook 2002:

World Introduction World ------------------ Background: Globally, the 20th century was marked by: (a) two devastating world wars; (b) the Great Depression of the 1930s; (c) the end of vast colonial empires; (d) rapid advances in science and technology, from the first airplane flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (US) to the landing on the moon; (e) the Cold War between the Western alliance and the Warsaw Pact nations; (f) a sharp rise in living standards in North America, Europe, and Japan; (g) increased concerns about the environment, including loss of forests, shortages of energy and water, the decline in biological diversity, and air pollution; (h) the onset of the AIDS epidemic; and (i) the ultimate emergence of the US as the only world superpower. The planet's population continues to explode: from 1 billion in 1820, to 2 billion in 1930, 3 billion in 1960, 4 billion in 1974, 5 billion in 1988, and 6 billion in 2000. For the 21st century, the continued exponential growth in science and technology raises both hopes (e.g., advances in medicine) and fears (e.g., development of even more lethal weapons of war). Geography World --------------- Map references: Physical Map of the World, Political Map of the World, Standard Time Zones of the World Area: total: 510.072 million sq km land: 148.94 million sq km water: 361.132 million sq km note: 70.8% of the world's surface is water, 29.2% is land Area - comparative: land area about 16 times the size of the US Land boundaries: the land boundaries in the world total 250,472 km (not counting shared boundaries twice) Coastline: 356,000 km Maritime claims: a variety of situations exist, but in general, most countries make the following claims: contiguous zone - 24 NM; continental shelf - 200- m depth or to the depth of exploitation, or 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin; exclusive fishing zone - 200 NM; exclusive economic zone - 200 NM; territorial sea - 12 NM; boundary situations with neighboring states prevent many countries from extending their fishing or economic zones to a full 200 NM; 43 nations and other areas that are landlocked include Afghanistan, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Holy See (Vatican City), Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malawi, Mali, Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Niger, Paraguay, Rwanda, San Marino, Slovakia, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tajikistan, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan, West Bank, Zambia, Zimbabwe; two of these, Liechtenstein and Uzbekistan, are doubly landlocked Climate: two large areas of polar climates separated by two rather narrow temperate zones form a wide equatorial band of tropical to subtropical climates Terrain: the greatest ocean depth is the Mariana Trench at 10,924 m in the Pacific Ocean Elevation extremes: lowest point: Bentley Subglacial Trench -2,540 m note: in the oceanic realm, Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench is the lowest point, lying - 10,924 m below the surface of the Pacific Ocean highest point: Mount Everest 8,850 m (1999 est.) Natural resources: the rapid depletion of nonrenewable mineral resources, the depletion of forest areas and wetlands, the extinction of animal and plant species, and the deterioration in air and water quality (especially in Eastern Europe, the former USSR, and China) pose serious long-term problems that governments and peoples are only beginning to address Land use: arable land: 10.58% permanent crops: 1% other: 88.41% (1998 est.) Irrigated land: 2,714,320 sq km (1998 est.) Natural hazards: large areas subject to severe weather (tropical cyclones), natural disasters (earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions) Environment - current issues: large areas subject to overpopulation, industrial disasters, pollution (air, water, acid rain, toxic substances), loss of vegetation (overgrazing, deforestation, desertification), loss of wildlife, soil degradation, soil depletion, erosion Geography - note: the world is now thought to be about 4.55 billion years old, just about one-third of the 13-billion-year age estimated for the universe People World ------------ Population: 6,233,821,945 (July 2002 est.) Age structure: 0-14 years: 29.2% (male 932,581,592; female 885,688,851) 15-64 years: 63.7% (male 2,009,997,089; female 1,964,938,201) 65 years and over: 7.1% (male 193,549,180; female 247,067,032) (2002 est.) Population growth rate: 1.23% (2002 est.) Birth rate: 21.16 births/1,000 population (2002 est.) Death rate: 8.93 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.) Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/ female total population: 1.01 male(s)/ female (2002 est.) Infant mortality rate: 51.55 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 63.94 years female: 65.67 years (2002 est.) male: 62.28 years Total fertility rate: 2.7 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA% HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ NA AIDS: HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA Religions: Christians 32.88% (of which Roman Catholics 17.39%, Protestants 5.62%, Orthodox 3.54%, Anglicans 1.31%), Muslims 19.54%, Hindus 13.34%, Buddhists 5.92%, Sikhs 0.38%, Jews 0.24%, other religions 12.6%, non- religious 12.63%, atheists 2.47% (2000 est.) Languages: Chinese, Mandarin 14.37%, Hindi 6.02%, English 5.61%, Spanish 5.59%, Bengali 3.4%, Portuguese 2.63%, Russian 2.75%, Japanese 2.06%, German, Standard 1.64%, Korean 1.28%, French 1.27% (2000 est.) note: percents are for "first language" speakers only Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 77% male: 83% female: 71% (1995 est.) Government World ---------------- Administrative divisions: 268 nations, dependent areas, other, and miscellaneous entries Legal system: all members of the UN plus Switzerland are parties to the statute that established the International Court of Justice (ICJ) or World Court Economy World ------------- Economy - overview: Growth in global output (gross world product, GWP) fell from 4.8% in 2000 to 2.2% in 2001. The causes: slowdowns in the US economy (21% of GWP) and in the 15 EU economies (20% of GWP); continued stagnation in the Japanese economy (7.3% of GWP); and spillover effects in the less developed regions of the world. China, the second largest economy in the world (12% of GWP), proved an exception, continuing its rapid annual growth, officially announced as 7.3% but estimated by many observers as perhaps two percentage points lower. Russia (2.6% of GWP), with 5.2% growth, continued to make uneven progress, its GDP per capita still only one-third that of the leading industrial nations. The other 14 successor nations of the USSR and the other old Warsaw Pact nations again experienced widely divergent growth rates; the three Baltic nations were strong performers, in the 5% range of growth. The developing nations also varied in their growth results, with many countries facing population increases that eat up gains in output. Externally, the nation- state, as a bedrock economic- political institution, is steadily losing control over international flows of people, goods, funds, and technology. Internally, the central government often finds its control over resources slipping as separatist regional movements - typically based on ethnicity - gain momentum, e.g., in many of the successor states of the former Soviet Union, in the former Yugoslavia, in India, in Indonesia, and in Canada. In Western Europe, governments face the difficult political problem of channeling resources away from welfare programs in order to increase investment and strengthen incentives to seek employment. The addition of 80 million people each year to an already overcrowded globe is exacerbating the problems of pollution, desertification, underemployment, epidemics, and famine. Because of their own internal problems and priorities, the industrialized countries devote insufficient resources to deal effectively with the poorer areas of the world, which, at least from the economic point of view, are becoming further marginalized. The introduction of the euro as the common currency of much of Western Europe in January 1999, while paving the way for an integrated economic powerhouse, poses economic risks because of varying levels of income and cultural and political differences among the participating nations. The terrorist attacks on the US on 11 September 2001 accentuate a further growing risk to global prosperity, illustrated, for example, by the reallocation of resources away from investment to anti-terrorist programs. (For specific economic developments in each country of the world in 2001, see the individual country entries.) GDP: GWP (gross world product) - purchasing power parity - $47 trillion (2001 est.) GDP - real growth rate: 2.2% (2001 est.) GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $7,600 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 4% industry: 32% services: 64% (2001 est.) Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: NA% percentage share: highest 10%: NA% Inflation rate (consumer prices): developed countries 1% to 4% typically; developing countries 5% to 60% typically (2001 est.); national inflation rates vary widely in individual cases, from declining prices in Japan to hyperinflation in several Third World countries Labor force: NA Labor force - by occupation: agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA% Unemployment rate: 30% combined unemployment and underemployment in many non- industrialized countries; developed countries typically 4%-12% unemployment (2001 est.) Industries: dominated by the onrush of technology, especially in computers, robotics, telecommunications, and medicines and medical equipment; most of these advances take place in OECD nations; only a small portion of non-OECD countries have succeeded in rapidly adjusting to these technological forces; the accelerated development of new industrial (and agricultural) technology is complicating already grim environmental problems Industrial production growth rate: 6% (2000 est.) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: NA% hydro: NA% nuclear: NA% other: NA% Exports: $6.3 trillion (f.o.b., 2001 est.) Exports - commodities: the whole range of industrial and agricultural goods and services Exports - partners: in value, about 75% of exports from the developed countries Imports: $6.3 trillion (f.o.b., 2001 est.) Imports - commodities: the whole range of industrial and agricultural goods and services Imports - partners: in value, about 75% of imports into the developed countries Debt - external: $2 trillion for less developed countries (2001 est.) Economic aid - recipient: official development assistance (ODA) $50 billion (2001 est.) Communications World -------------------- Telephones - main lines in use: NA Telephones - mobile cellular: NA Telephone system: general assessment: NA domestic: NA international: NA Radio broadcast stations: AM NA, FM NA, shortwave NA Radios: NA Television broadcast stations: NA Televisions: NA Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 10,350 (2000 est.) Internet users: 513.41 million (2001 est.) Transportation World -------------------- Railways: total: 1,201,337 km includes about 190,000 to 195,000 km of electrified routes of which 147,760 km are in Europe, 24,509 km in the Far East, 11,050 km in Africa, 4,223 km in South America, and 4,160 km in North America; note - fastest speed in daily service is 300 km/hr attained by France's Societe Nationale des Chemins-de-Fer Francais (SNCF) Le Train a Grande Vitesse (TGV) - Atlantique line broad gauge: 251,153 km narrow gauge: 239,430 km standard gauge: 710,754 km Highways: total: NA km paved: NA km unpaved: NA km Ports and harbors: Chiba, Houston, Kawasaki, Kobe, Marseille, Mina' al Ahmadi (Kuwait), New Orleans, New York, Rotterdam, Yokohama Military World -------------- Military expenditures - dollar aggregate real expenditure on arms figure: worldwide in 1999 remained at approximately the 1998 level, about three-quarters of a trillion dollars (1999 est.) Military expenditures - percent of roughly 2% of gross world product GDP: (1999 est.)