way of the world

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way of the world (plural ways of the world)

  1. (sometimes pluralized, almost always preceded by the) The manner, often unavoidable or displeasing, in which events usually unfold or in which people usually behave.
    • 1700, William Congreve, The Way of the World, scene 13:
      FAINALL: Very likely, sir. What's here? Damnation! [Reads] A deed of conveyance of the whole estate of Arabella Languish, widow, in trust to Edward Mriabell. Confusion!
      MIRABELL: Even so, sir: 'tis the way of the world, sir; of the widows of the world. I suppose this deed may bear an elder date than what you have obtained from your lady.
      FAINALL: Perfidious fiend!
    • 1863, Charles Kingsley, The Gospel of the Pentateuch, Sermon 5:
      One worships public opinion, and follows after the multitude to do evil, doing what he knows is wrong, simply because others do it, and it is the way of the world.
    • 1911, Lucy Maud Montgomery, The Story Girl, ch. 31:
      Felicity got all the gratitude, although the Story Girl had originated the idea and seeded the raisins and beaten the eggs, while Cecily had trudged all the way to Mrs. Jameson's little shop below the church to buy the pink candies. But that is the way of the world.
    • 2001, Tim Larimer, "The Beat Goes On," Time, 5 Feb.:
      His trademark silences suggest a man who knows the ways of the world and doesn't much like them.

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