1) N-PROPER: oft the N Earth or the Earth is the planet on which we live. People usually say Earth when they are referring to the planet as part of the universe, and the Earth when they are talking about the planet as the place where we live.

The space shuttle Atlantis returned safely to earth today...

Shifting plates of the Earth's crust push against each other, triggering volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

2) N-SING: the N The earth is the land surface on which we live and move about.

The earth shook and swayed and the walls of neighbouring houses fell around them.

3) N-UNCOUNT Earth is the substance on the land surface of the earth, for example clay or sand, in which plants grow.

The road winds for miles through parched earth, scrub and cactus...

They will revert to tilling the earth in an old-fashioned way.

4) N-COUNT An earth is a hole in the ground in which an animal such as a fox lives.
5) N-SING The earth in an electric plug or piece of electrical equipment is the wire through which electricity can pass into the ground, which makes the equipment safe if something goes wrong with it. [BRIT]

The earth wire was not connected.

Derived words:
earthed ADJ usu v-link ADJ

Light fittings with metal parts should always be earthed.

(in AM, use ground)
6) See also down-to-earth
7) PHRASE: quest PHR (emphasis) On earth is used for emphasis in questions that begin with words such as `how', `why', `what', or `where'. It is often used to suggest that there is no obvious or easy answer to the question being asked.

How on earth did that happen?...

What on earth had Luke done?...

Why on earth would he want to go to such a place?

in the world
8) PHRASE: with neg, n PHR (emphasis) On earth is used for emphasis after some negative noun groups, for example `no reason'.

There was no reason on earth why she couldn't have moved in with us...

There is no feeling on earth like winning for the first time.

in the world
9) PHRASE: adj-superl n PHR (emphasis) On earth is used for emphasis after a noun group that contains a superlative adjective.

He wanted to be the fastest man on earth.

...the site of the worst ecological disaster on earth.

in the world
10) PHRASE: PHR after v If you come down to earth or back to earth, you have to face the reality of everyday life after a period of great excitement.

When he came down to earth after his win he admitted: `It was an amazing feeling'...

I was shocked, brought down to earth by this revelation.

11) PHRASE: V inflects If you run someone or something to earth, you find them after searching for them for a long time. [mainly BRIT]

She ran him to earth in the pub at five to one.

12) PHRASE: V inflects (emphasis) If you say that something cost the earth or that you paid the earth for it, you are emphasizing that it cost a very large amount of money. [INFORMAL]

It must have cost the earth.

13) hell on earthsee hell
to move heaven and earthsee heaven
salt of the earthsee salt

English dictionary. 2008.

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