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earth

Line breaks: earth
Pronunciation: /əːθ
 
/

Definition of earth in English:

noun

1 (also Earth) The planet on which we live; the world: the diversity of life on earth
More example sentences
  • This is because Venus and the Earth orbit the Sun at a slight angle to each other.
  • At the side of the Earth nearest the Moon the oceans bulge upwards due to its pull.
  • It seems that several of the earlier philosophers had concluded that the Earth is a globe.
Synonyms
1.1The surface of the world as distinct from the sky or the sea: the pilot brought the plane gently back to earth
More example sentences
  • The earth plummeted into what appeared to be a succession of bottomless valleys, first on our left, then our right, as we meandered ever upwards.
  • As the fat, large drops fell from the heavens and hit the parched earth, the land that had once been in a drought rejoiced, and the angels were glad.
  • The fog, a misty white at the very base of the mountain, where trees still grew, gave way to earth and, as earth gave way to sky, sky gave way to storm clouds.
Synonyms
1.2The present abode of humankind, as distinct from heaven or hell: God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven
More example sentences
  • A new heaven and a new earth will replace the world as we know it today.
  • God's reign is already present on our earth in mystery.
  • The emphasis that there are heaven and earth founds a distinction between the accessible earth and a transcendent realm that is yet part of the creation.

The earth is the third planet from the sun in the solar system, orbiting between Venus and Mars at an average distance of 149.6 million km from the sun, and has one natural satellite, the moon. It has an equatorial diameter of 12,756 km, an average density 5.5 times that of water, and is believed to have formed about 4,600 million years ago. The earth, which is three-quarters covered by oceans and has a dense atmosphere of nitrogen and oxygen, is the only planet known to support life

2 [mass noun] The substance of the land surface; soil: a layer of earth
More example sentences
  • In this case a motorcyclist was injured in a collision at a junction where visibility was restricted by a bank of earth on land owned by British Rail.
  • Veil desperately tried to leap out, but a big clod of earth landed on his head.
  • Made of rammed earth - the soil excavated from the site - the wall alleviated the need to buy soil or use wood to fence the property.
Synonyms
2.1 [count noun] Used in names of stable, dense, non-volatile inorganic substances, e.g. fuller’s earth: these crayons are made with a mixture of native earths plus softeners such as China clay
More example sentences
  • Sparkling or still, it is purified ‘using naturally occurring ceramic earths, coconut and anthracite carbon to create a great house taste’.
  • By the usual convention, the element he obtained became known as cerium (all the earths had names ending in - ia, with the ending changed to - ium for the element).
  • A year later Charles Galissard de Marignac in Geneva found a further earth in this substance, which Lecoq isolated in 1886 and called gadolinium.
2.2 literary The substance of the human body: we now commit his body to the ground: earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust
More example sentences
  • You entrust to the earth our bodies of earth which you fashioned with your own hands and you restore again what you have given, transforming with incorruptibility and grace what is mortal and deformed in us.
  • The book is full of ghosts for whom the poet feels duty-bound to speak, and for the most part his theme is what the ghosts long for, the lovely body of earth.
3 [mass noun] British Electrical connection to the ground, regarded as having zero electrical potential: ensure metal fittings are electrically bonded to earth
More example sentences
  • It is possible to stop a radio signal leaking into the ground via its earth cable by carefully choosing the height at which the antenna is mounted.
  • It has exposed mains voltage solder points on top, no earth connection and one very flimsy and very dull aluminium end.
  • Older electrical systems in council flats don't have earth wires.
4The underground lair of a badger or fox.
Example sentences
  • Many hunts take steps the night before, or early on the day of the hunt, to block up the entrances to earths, badger setts and artificial places such as drains.
  • Foxhunters block up earths and badger setts the night before the hunt to ensure that foxes are forced to run until exhausted.
  • The night before the hunt, foxhunters cover up any earths and badger setts to make sure that the foxes have to run until exhausted.
Synonyms
den, lair, sett, burrow, warren, tunnel, hole, cave;
habitation
informal hidey-hole
5One of the four elements in ancient and medieval philosophy and in astrology (considered essential to the nature of the signs Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn): [as modifier]: an earth sign
More example sentences
  • As the cardinal earth sign Capricorn portrays the enduring and irrepressible spirit of nature.
  • Virgo is an earth sign, which is ruled by pragmatism and logic.
  • An earth sign, they have a particular love of helping in the garden, and of long country walks - and they usually love the rain.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
1British Connect (an electrical device) with the ground: the front metal panels must be soundly earthed
More example sentences
  • When plugged in, the pump is earthed and I have a little more piece of mind!
  • It was only because the bottom of the sheet stuck in the ground and was earthed that James survived.
  • They are not able to be earthed, filtered, or shielded electrically.
2 Hunting Drive (a fox) to its underground lair.
2.1 [no object] (Of a fox) run to its underground lair.
3 (earth something up) Cover the root and lower stem of a plant with heaped-up earth: the stems can be earthed up when the plant is about one foot high
More example sentences
  • The stems can be blanched by earthing them up, which makes the astringent flavour milder.
  • You will, however, have to do some digging: once to plant the seed potatoes; once to earth them up to prevent the new tubers growing on the surface and becoming poisonously green; and once to lift the resultant crop.
  • Instead of earthing my potatoes up, I've been mulching some of them with excess swiss chard and lettuce plants I have been cutting down recently.

Origin

Old English eorthe, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch aarde and German Erde.

Phrases

come (or bring someone) back (down) to earth

1
Return (or cause someone to return) to reality after a period of daydreaming or excitement: a sharp knock at the door brought him back to earth
More example sentences
  • The problem with holidays is coming back to earth afterwards.
  • Sarah said: ‘It has been an opportunity to relax and come to terms with what Sally and I have achieved before returning home and coming back down to earth.’
  • The only trouble with this form of mental escape is that sooner or later you must come back to earth, the jolt of this being pretty terrific.

the earth

2
British A very large amount: her hat cost the earth
More example sentences
  • He stressed it didn't have to cost the earth to cook fresh locally grown produced.
  • Yet he has a mortgage, a young family, and does not want to pay the earth for it.
  • We have a council that promises the earth but provides road calming and roundabouts.

the earth moved (or did the earth move for you?)

3
humorous One had (or did you have?) an orgasm.
Example sentences
  • Of those, a bare majority of 55% admitted that the earth moved for them.
  • It's been a while since the earth moved for dear old John, bless him.

go to earth

4
(Of a hunted animal) hide in an underground burrow: the fox would go to earth and stay there till dark
More example sentences
  • After a two hour chase it finally went to earth but a trap was set and the fox captured the next day and bagged so ‘it will again afford another day's sport’.
  • I saw it go to earth as I got between two buildings on Foss Islands Road.
4.1Go into hiding: he’d gone to earth after that meeting
More example sentences
  • An anti-hunting MP was forced to go to earth in the face of a noisy protest at one of his routine constituency surgeries by angry Yorkshire hunt supporters.
  • Intelligence forces have complained that several high-profile suspects they'd been keeping an eye on have gone to earth and now can't be found.
  • She had gone to earth in the pit opened by the torn-up roots of a fallen tree, and sprang out at his approach.

like nothing on earth

5
informal Very strange: they looked like nothing on earth
More example sentences
  • The noise would be like nothing on earth - certainly nothing in Bellagio.
  • What turned up was quite a surprise. It looked like black pudding but tasted like nothing on earth.
  • There was a sound like nothing on earth: groups of male capuchin birds attract females with sounds like the whine of some outer-space cicada insect crossed with a sick cow.

on earth

6
Used for emphasis, especially in questions and negative statements: who on earth would venture out in weather like this?
More example sentences
  • So my question is, how on earth do you keep tabs on all of the available programming?
  • You may wonder what on earth has prompted me to ask such a question, so let me explain.
  • The question that remains to baffle us is why on earth it took so long for anything to be done.

Definition of earth in:

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Pronunciation: pərt
adjective
lively; cheerful