Earth, Name and etymology

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Earth, also known as the world, Terra, or Gaia, is the third planet from the Sun, the densest planet in the Solar System, the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets, and the only celestial body known to accommodate life. It is home to millions of species, including billions of humans who depend upon its biosphere and minerals. The Earth's human population is divided among about two hundred independent states that interact through diplomacy, conflict, travel, trade, and media.


The modern English Earth developed from a wide variety of Middle English forms, which derived from an Old English noun most often spelled '.Oxford English Dictionary, "earth, n.¹" Oxford University Press (Oxford), 2010. It has cognates in every Germanic language and their proto-Germanic root has been reconstructed as *erþō. In its earliest appearances, eorðe was already being used to translate the many senses of Latin ' and Greek (): the ground, its soil, dry land, the human world, the surface of the world (including the sea), and the globe itself. As with Terra and Gaia, Earth was a personified goddess in Germanic paganism: the Angles were listed by Tacitus among the devotees of Nerthus and later Norse mythology included Jörð, a giantess often given as the mother of Thor.Simek, Rudolf. Trans. Angela Hall as Dictionary of Northern Mythology, D.S. Brewer, 2007. ISBN 0-85991-513-1.

Originally, earth was written in lowercase and, from early Middle English, its definite sense as "the globe" was expressed as the earth. By early Modern English, many nouns were capitalized and the earth became (and often remained) the Earth, particularly when referenced along with other heavenly bodies. More recently, the name is simply given as Earth, by analogy with the names of the other planets. House styles now vary: Oxford spelling recognizes the lowercase form as the most common, with the capitalized form an acceptable variant. Another convention capitalizes Earth when appearing as a name (e.g., "Earth's atmosphere") but writes it in lowercase when preceded by the (e.g., "the atmosphere of the earth"). It almost always appears in lowercase in colloquial expressions such as "what on earth are you doing?"The New Oxford Dictionary of English, "earth". Oxford University Press (Oxford), 199


8. ISBN 0-19-861263-X.

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