world war

noun

: a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world
especially, World War : either of two such wars of the first half of the 20th century

Examples of world war in a Sentence

He fought in both World Wars. The nations were prepared for world war.
Recent Examples on the Web In 1925, the Phoenix Fine Arts Association was formed to foster and promote community art interest and to establish and maintain an art gallery, but a physical space would not come until more than three decades (and a world war) later. Laura Daniella Sepulveda, The Arizona Republic, 10 Apr. 2024 Many of Trump's supporters in Congress, such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., have balked at giving more support to Ukraine, saying the conflict with Russia could suck the United States into a world war. David Jackson, USA TODAY, 7 Apr. 2024 During both world wars and the Cold War, the Arctic was a key theater. Elizabeth Buchanan, Foreign Affairs, 18 Mar. 2024 That’s partly for historic and political reasons: the legacy of two world wars in which Germany battled Russia, and a distinct lack of popular support, especially in the former East Germany, for deeper Ukraine involvement. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, 7 Mar. 2024 His view since the 1950s had been that an all-out nuclear world war was too catastrophic for anyone to win. Niall Ferguson, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 Since major advancements have been made in waterproof and windproof materials since the early days—two world wars resulted in innovations like gabardines, nylons, polyesters, and waxed cottons—windbreakers have become some of the lightest varieties of outerwear. Isaiah Freeman-Schub, Robb Report, 26 Feb. 2024 But through elite bargaining, both within and across parties, the United States managed to become the most powerful country in the world and to avoid a third world war. Elizabeth N. Saunders, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 And unlike appeasement, détente successfully avoided a world war. Niall Ferguson, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'world war.' 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

1848, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of world war was in 1848

Dictionary Entries Near world war

Cite this Entry

“World war.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/world%20war. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

world war

noun
: a war involving all or most of the chief nations of the world
especially, capitalized both Ws : either of two such wars of the 20th century

More from Merriam-Webster on world war

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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