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The world is the planet Earth and all life upon it, including human civilization. In a philosophical context, the world is the whole of the physical Universe, or an ontological world. In a theological context, the world is the material or the profane sphere, as opposed to the celestial, spiritual, transcendent or sacred. The "end of the world" refers to scenarios of the final end of human history, often in religious contexts.
World history is commonly understood as spanning the major geopolitical developments of about five millennia, from the first civilizations to the present. In terms such as world religion, world language, world government, and world war, world suggests international or intercontinental scope without necessarily implying participation of the entire world.
World population is the sum of all human populations at any time; similarly, world economy is the sum of the economies of all societies or countries, especially in the context of globalization. Terms like world championship, gross world product, world flags imply the sum or combination of all current-day sovereign states.
The English word comes from the Old English weorold (-uld), weorld, worold (-uld, -eld), a compound of wer "man" and eld "age," which thus means roughly "Age of Man." The Old English is a reflex of the Common Germanic *wira-alđiz, also reflected in Old Saxon werold, Old High German weralt, Old Frisian warld and Old Norse verǫld (whence the Icelandic ).
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