8 Idioms with World

Pronouncing the Word World

Recently, one of my students told me the word “world” was very difficult for him to pronounce.  As I thought back to some of my first English students in Brazil, I remembered how difficult this word was for them to pronounce as well.  It is a common word in English and we use it to talk about politics, history, geography, and society.  Also, it is ubiquitous in song lyrics and in poetry.  Therefore, it is imperative to learn to pronounce this word correctly.  Sometimes you have to repeat a difficult word 17 times before you really learn to say the word correctly.  I would recommend repeating this difficult word aloud everyday for at least 1 minute for a week. In this audio recording, I pronounce the word “world” 17 times.  You can practice saying it 17 times with me!


You could record yourself saying it and compare it to my recording.  You will see great progress in your pronunciation if you find creative ways to say the word.  These idioms will help you learn the word in new ways.  

Idioms with World #1: It’s a Small World


The first idiom with ‘world’ is “It’s a small world.”  Once, when I was traveling in Portugal, I bumped into a childhood friend of mine from Iowa in a small fishing village.  I said, “It’s a small world” and couldn’t believe how serendipitous it was to find my good friend in the middle of nowhere.  We went for a long walk along the beach and talked about childhood memories.  This expression is perfect for those kinds of events in your life that bring you closer to people and experiences that make the world feel like a small place.  In Spanish, we say, “el mundo es un pañuelo,” which expresses the same sentiment that the world is much smaller than it appears to be. 

Idioms with World #2: Out of this World


The Second Idiom with ‘world’ is “Out of this world.”  This is one of the greatest expressions to describe something that is really amazing, fantastic, and wonderful.  My family members usually use it to describe our Thanksgiving dinner.  Our plates our filled with turkey, stuffing, cranberry relish, and mashed potatoes.  We describe this delicious meal as being “Out of this world.”  Once, when I went to a famous cupcake bakery in the lower east side of Manhattan, I told my friend, “These cupcakes are out of this world.”  She agreed and said “I couldn’t agree more.”  You can use this idiom with ‘world’ to describe not only food, but also an event like a fireworks show or a musical.  

World Idiom #3: Do Someone a World of Good


The third idiom with ‘world’ is “Do someone a world of good.”  This idiom is used to describe something that could make someone feel much better.  This could refer to self-care practices, long walks, or meditation.  For example, I could say that the spa treatment did me a world of good.  The other day, the government lifted restrictions from COVID-19 and we were allowed to go outside and do exercise for the first time in Spain after being on lockdown for more than a month. My husband said, “That run did me a world of good.”  I was so happy to see him feeling better and looking more relaxed.  

World Idiom #4: Carry the World on your Shoulders


The fourth idiom with ‘world’ is “Carry the world on your shoulders,” which refers to having a lot of responsibility.  This is a heavy feeling that someone may have and may feel they are carrying a lot of burdens and responsibilities.  They may feel a sense of stress and they may feel overwhelmed.  My sister often expresses this feeling and says, “I am carrying the world on my shoulders,” when she talks about being a mom to her two children, a wife, and the president of a multinational company.  

Idioms with World #5: On Top of the World


The fifth idiom with ‘world’ is “On top of the world,” which means that you feel tremendously happy and elated.  In this picture, I went to a special place in Brazil called Chapada Diamantina, a National Wildlife Preserve that has crystal clear waterfalls and expansive views.  I felt like I was “on top of the world” everyday of that trip because I felt a sense of freedom and awe of the nature that surrounded me.  I usually feel “on top of the world” when I travel to new places and experience the sensation of excitement and adventure.  Have you ever been to Machu Picchu?  I felt like I was “on top of the world” when I traveled there after college and saw some of the ancient ruins in person.  

World Idiom #6: The World is my Oyster


The sixth idiom is with ‘world’ is, “The world is my oyster” and we say this to describe the pleasant surprises that are found in the world. If you were to open an oyster, you can imagine the lucky feeling you would experience if you found a pearl inside.  That metaphor relates to a world that is open for play, opportunity, career advancement and joy.  We use this idiom with ‘world’ to describe young people who are surrounded by rich opportunities to move up the career ladder. 

World Idiom #7: Worlds Apart


The seventh idiom with ‘world’ is “Worlds apart,” which we use to describe how different people are.  Native speakers sometimes use this idiom to describe siblings because they truly have very different personalities.  You could say, “Sammy and Ted are worlds apart.  Even though they look like identical twins, Sammy is calm and Ted is active.”  My brother and I are like “two peas in a pod,” meaning we are so similar and get along great.  I would never use the “worlds apart” idiom to describe our relationship.  

World Idiom #8: The World is at your Fingertips


The eighth idiom with ‘world’ is “The world is at your fingertips,” which means that opportunities are available to you.  When the world is at your fingertips, everything flows and even carrying out tasks is effortless.  Thus, the fingers are a good symbol because they represent the ability to mold and shape your world.  The world is like a sculpture and you are the artist, using your hands to craft the most stunning work you could imagine.  


These idioms are creative, fun to say, and used commonly in spoken English.  I encourage you to practice saying them aloud with emotion.  You can use these idioms with ‘world’ in everyday conversations.  You will be surprised by how much you enhance the dialogue with these unique and colorful idioms in English.  


Here are some other Youtube videos with songs that have the word “world” in their lyrics.

What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong 

Heal the world, Michael Jackson

Here are a few other blogs you could check-out to read more about idioms with world:

Shayna from Espresso English 

Here is a video with teacher Rebecca teaching idioms with world

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