noun ec·u·mene \ˈekyəˌmēn, eˈkyümə(ˌ)nē\

Definition of ecumene



  1. 1a :  the permanently inhabited portion of the earth as distinguished from the uninhabited or temporarily inhabited area but that the southern limit of the ecumene should be pushed southward, to about latitude 68° S, in Graham Land — Geography Review b :  the nuclear area or center of maximum activity of a state having the densest population and the closest network of transportation routes Russia's ecumene is on the same grand scale as that of the U.S. — Derwent Whittlesey

  2. 2 anthropology :  a nuclear area of high culture to which neighboring regions stand in a relation of cultural backwardness or dependence :  civilization

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Origin and Etymology of ecumene

Greek oikoumenē, from feminine of oikoumenos inhabited, present participle middle of oikein to inhabit, from oikos house, habitation — more at vicinity

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capable of being understood in two ways

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