Old World

1 of 2


: of, relating to, or characteristic of the Old World
old-world traditions/attitudes/beliefs
Many recipes for old-world cakes … call for whisking egg yolks with sugar until a pale yellow foam forms.Ben Mims
Pronghorns, distinctly North American and not allied to old-world goats or antelope, are the fastest land mammals on earth after cheetahs.Ted Williams
often : having the charm or picturesque qualities of the Old World
narrow old-world streets
… the house radiates a European sensibility … By recognizing and building upon this appealing old-world integrity, Joanne Deakins has placed the definitive stamp of her own decorating taste and style on the home's interior and furnishings. Southern Accents
The hotel is very old-world, and the tall dining room has all the accoutrements that a luxury hotel once required. Lillian Langseth-Christensen
the Old World
: the eastern hemisphere exclusive of Australia
… the pomegranate has been naturalized for so long throughout the Old World that no one is quite sure where it originated (but Persia seems most likely).Elizabeth Schneider
During the late Miocene, various kinds of apes evolved in widely separated parts of the Old World (but none in the New World).Marvin Harris
specifically : the continent of Europe
The Atlantic is a Lethean stream, in our passage over which we have had an opportunity to forget the Old World and its institutions. Henry David Thoreau
From America, the Old World would receive new staffs of life, such as corn and potatoes, as well as some of life's guilty pleasures, such as tobacco and chocolate. Peter Winn
compare new world

Examples of Old World in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
People are now also seeking out leech therapy as an alternative treatment for various illnesses; the 77-year-old Serbian performance artist Marina Abramović recently claimed that the practice, along with garlic drops and other old-world treatments, helped cure her Lyme disease. Zoey Poll, New York Times, 16 Feb. 2024 This means Palais de Fes is easily accessible by car—a rarity in the historic center of Fez—but feels like part of the old-world commerce outside. Ann Abel, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2024 This is the second year in a row that Acqualina Resort, with its old-world elegance and Mediterranean design, breathtaking ocean views and an award-winning spa, has earned the top spot on the U.S. News & World Report list. Connie Ogle, Miami Herald, 6 Feb. 2024 Formal nights are fun and evoke the old-world, slow-travel glamor of cruising. Kelsey Glennon, Travel + Leisure, 5 Feb. 2024 Fusing old-world couture with new world techniques, their eyelids were topped off with the Mothership I and V palettes for a gold-and-pearl shimmer, while their brows were lightened and toned. Essence, 26 Jan. 2024 Photograph by Andrew Durham / Courtesy MACK There is an old-world flavor to the Coppolas’ relationship to the family business: just as cobblers beget cobblers, movie people beget movie people. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 22 Jan. 2024 The town boasts beautiful old-world architecture, 800 miles of hiking trails for exploring, more than a dozen tasting rooms with beer and wine, an outdoor theater, and plenty of German eateries serving up brats and schnitzel. Molly O'Brien, Travel + Leisure, 17 Jan. 2024 Yet the series functions best when the old-world glamour is infused with modern humor. Aramide Tinubu, Variety, 16 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Old World.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


circa 1596, in the meaning defined above


1712, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Old World was circa 1596

Dictionary Entries Near Old World

old wood

Old World


Cite this Entry

“Old World.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Old%20World. Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
: of or relating to the Old World
: having old-fashioned charm

Old World

2 of 2 noun
: the eastern hemisphere except Australia
especially : the continent of Europe
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!