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World

A man of the world. One acquainted with the ways of public and social life.

A woman of the world.
A married woman. (See above.)

“Touchstone. To-morrow will we be married.”

Audrey.

“I do desire it with all my heart; and I hope it is no dishonest desire to be a woman of the world.” — Shakespeare: As You Like It, v. 3.

All the world and his wife.
Everyone without exception.

To go to the world.
To get married. The Catholics at one time exalted celibacy into “a crown of glory,” and divided mankind into celibates and worldlings (or laity). The former were monks and nuns, and the latter were the monde (or people of the world). Similarly they divided literature into sacred and profane.

“Everyone goes to the world but I, and I may sit in a corner and cry heigho! for a husband.” — Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing, ii. 1.

“If I may have your ladyship's good will to go to the world, Isabel and I will do as we may.” —All's Well that Ends Well, i. 3.

World

(The). The world, the flesh, and the devil. “The world,” i.e. the things of this world, in contradistinction to religious matters; “the flesh,” i.e. love of pleasure and sensual enjoyments; “the devil,” i.e. all temptations to evil of every kind, as theft, murder, lying, blasphemy, and so on.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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