Meaning of EARTH in English

I. earth 1 S2 W2 /ɜːθ $ ɜːrθ/ BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ earth , ↑ earthling , ↑ earthiness ; adjective : ↑ earthy , ↑ earthly ≠ ↑ unearthly , ↑ earthen ; verb : ↑ unearth ; adverb : earthward(s)]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: eorthe ]

1 . WORLD ( also Earth ) [singular, uncountable] the ↑ planet that we live on:

the planet Earth

the earth

The earth revolves around the sun.

the earth’s surface/atmosphere/crust etc

71% of the earth’s surface is sea.

on earth

the origin of life on Earth

2 . SOIL [uncountable] the substance that plants grow in SYN soil

soft/bare/damp etc earth

footprints in the wet earth

a lump of earth

3 . LAND [uncountable] the hard surface of the world, as opposed to the sea or air SYN ground :

The earth shook.

They watched the kite fall back to earth.

4 . what/why/how etc on earth ...? spoken used to ask a question when you are very surprised or angry:

What on earth did you do that for?

5 . cost/pay/charge the earth informal to cost etc a very large amount of money:

It must have cost the earth!

6 . the biggest/tallest/most expensive etc ... on earth the biggest etc example of something that exists:

the most powerful man on earth

7 . RELIGION [uncountable] used in religion to refer to the time when people are alive as opposed to being in ↑ heaven or ↑ hell :

Jesus’ time on earth

⇨ move heaven and earth at ↑ heaven (9), ⇨ hell on earth at ↑ hell 1 (2)

8 . come back/down to earth (with a bump) to stop behaving or living in a way that is not practical:

She soon brought him back down to earth.

9 . no ... /nothing on earth used to emphasize that you mean nothing at all:

Nothing on earth would have persuaded me to go.

There’s no reason on earth why you should tell him.

10 . look/feel etc like nothing on earth British English to look or feel very strange:

The next morning I felt like nothing on earth.

11 . ELECTRICITY [countable usually singular] British English a wire that makes a piece of electrical equipment safe by connecting it with the ground SYN ground American English

12 . ANIMAL’S HOME [countable] the hole where a wild animal such as a ↑ fox lives ⇨ den , lair

13 . go to earth British English to hide in order to escape from someone who is chasing you SYN go to ground

14 . run somebody/something to earth British English to find someone, especially by looking in many places

⇨ ↑ down-to-earth , ⇨ promise somebody the moon/the earth at ↑ promise 1 (3), ⇨ the salt of the earth at ↑ salt 1 (2)

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ nouns

▪ the Earth’s surface

Over seventy percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by ocean.

▪ the Earth’s crust

Volcanoes and earthquakes occur where there is movement in the Earth’s crust.

▪ the Earth’s core (=central part)

The Earth’s inner core is almost entirely composed of iron.

▪ the Earth’s mantle (=parts around the central core)

the incredibly high temperatures and pressures deep within Earth’s mantle

▪ the Earth’s atmosphere

The Earth’s atmosphere blocks off all radiation from space other than light and radio waves.

▪ the Earth’s gravity

the continual pull of the Earth’s gravity on the Moon.

▪ the Earth’s orbit

The rocket left the Earth's orbit and set off to Mars.

▪ the Earth’s rotation

Has the Earth’s rotation always been the same?

▪ the Earth’s axis

Over thousands of years, the direction of Earth’s axis slowly changes.

▪ the Earth’s climate

The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has an influence on the Earth’s climate.

■ verbs

▪ orbit

The Earth orbits the Sun once a year, and the Moon orbits the Earth approximately every 27 days.

▪ revolve/rotate

Because of the direction in which the Earth revolves, the sun always rises in the east and sets in the west.

▪ go round/around

Why does the Earth goes around the Sun?

■ phrases

▪ Planet Earth

the origin of life on Planet Earth

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ adjectives

▪ soft

The wheels got stuck in the soft earth.

▪ hard

It hadn’t rained for weeks and the earth was hard.

▪ bare (=not covered by trees or grass)

There were no flowers or grass, just bare earth.

▪ fertile

This earth is not fertile enough to produce crops.

▪ freshly-dug

The poppy seeds were planted in the freshly-dug earth.

▪ moist/damp

I slipped on the damp earth and fell over.

■ phrases

▪ a mound of earth (=a pile of earth that looks like a small hill)

A mound of earth lay beside the grave.

▪ a clod/clump of earth (=a lump of earth)

The horse’s hooves kicked up great clods of earth.

• • •


▪ Earth/the Earth the planet we live on - used especially when talking about this in relation to other planets and to space. Also used when talking about being on the ground as opposed to being in the sky:

The Earth moves around the sun.


The space shuttle returned to Earth safely.


It’s the highest mountain on Earth.

▪ the world the planet we live on – used when talking about all the people, countries, places etc on it:

He’s one of the richest men in the world.


Sir Francis Drake was the first Englishman to sail around the world.

▪ land the solid dry part of the Earth’s surface:

After weeks at sea, the sailors saw land.

▪ the globe the world – used especially when you want to emphasize that something happens in or comes from every part of the world:

a meeting of scientists from around the globe


There has been an increase in skin cancer across the globe.


The network is accessible from any point on the globe.

II. earth 2 BrE AmE verb [transitive]

British English to make electrical equipment safe by connecting it to the ground with a wire SYN ground American English :

Make sure that the machine is properly earthed.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.