term ambiguously referring to any of: the whole of reality, the universe, the Earth and all life upon it, or human civilization

When people say "the world" they usually mean Earth, especially in a cultural and geopolitical sense. Humans and all other known living things live in this world. Sometimes "world" means another planet.

Before people discovered that Earth is a planet, they often used "World" to mean "Universe". They still sometimes use it to mean all humans or all civilization. For example, they may say "end of the world" to mean the end of history or humanity.

Sometimes they mean a small part of Earth such as Western world, Islamic world, third world, new world, or ancient world.

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