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You are watching: What in the world meaning

I"ve searched the internet and also found definitions, but I cannot figure out as soon as this would certainly have ever meant anything. Any type of ideas? special, the type of expression I am referring to is "What in the people were girlfriend thinking?" or "Why in the world would I want to execute that?" In those questions, "in the world" is offered to emphasize exactly how ridiculous the OP must have actually been once making such a decision.



What in the civilization were girlfriend thinking? is a rhetorical question. That method it is actually a statement:

In this world (in really reality) over there is naught that might explain you thoughts.

Similarly, why in the people would I perform that? is rhetorical for:

In this world there is no factor why ns would perform that.

So basically, including in the world come a rhetorical question implies that what the human being was doing, thinking, speak or asking is not in the kingdom of this world: the is out of this world, it is unrealistic, that is absurd.

See more: Which Of The Following Is Not A Characteristic Of Carbohydrates?


This is just one of those expressions that is for this reason old that it is almost literally translated from Latin, as in "Nulla in mundo pax sincera" ("In this world there is no honest peace.") i m sorry is based on an anonymous, old poem. The sense of "in the world" being a synonym because that "to exist" is found in the roman legal proverb: "Quod no est in actis, no est in mundo:" "That i beg your pardon is not in the statutes is not in the world."

A similar idiom is "It"s Greek come me," which originates from the Latin via Shakespeare.


According to Ngram the expression ( What/Why in the world) have actually been provided for at the very least the last two centuries. The earliest instance I might find dates ago to 1733:

This seems so fair, therefore exact, that what in the world could have actually a far better Face? yet for every this, the Scots perform not fail come complain of him, and affirm that he had actually regard just to his very own Interests. Because of this to have actually a clear and distinct Idea the this Affair, "tis worth while come look into the Complaints of the Scots, and also to watch on what they are founded, quiet this is what Mr. Rymer"s arsenal takes no notice of.

I don"t think they have actually a specific etymology however they are just a means to give focus to what one is saying.!


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