man of the world


a man who is widely experienced in the ways of the world and people; an urbane, sophisticated man.

Origin of man of the world

Middle English word dating back to 1300–50 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for man of the world

Historical Examples of man of the world

  • Here is the campaign manager, business man and man-of-the-world.

  • Bean had envied Bulger from the first for this man-of-the-world ease.

    Bunker Bean

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • "Well, you know it now," said Willard shortly, his man-of-the-world composure failing him.

    The Wishing Moon

    Louise Elizabeth Dutton

  • Anthony advanced with his man-of-the-world courtliness, and pressed her outstretched hand.

    A Humble Enterprise

    Ada Cambridge

  • "I've ordered the dinner; I suppose that'll do," he remarked with a man-of-the-world air.

    Adventures of Bindle

    Herbert George Jenkins

Idioms and Phrases with man of the world

man of the world

Also, woman of the world. A sophisticated person, experienced in social conventions. For example, You can discuss anything with him—he's a man of the world, or She's a woman of the world and understands these delicate issues. The first expression dates from about 1200 and originally meant “a man of the secular world” or “a married man” (that is, not a priest). Shakespeare applied this latter sense in As You Like It (5:3) where Audrey, at the prospect of marriage, says: “I hope it is no dishonest desire to be a woman of the world.” Henry Fielding in Tom Jones (1749) also echoed this earlier sense: “A man of the world; that is to say, a man who directs his conduct in this world as one, who being fully persuaded there is no other, is resolved to make the most of this.” By the mid-1800s the idea of sophistication had replaced this meaning.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.