These two terms are broadly speaking translations of "world" (世界), and "international" (国际). Recently, I've been reminded that "international" in English can be used to mean "many nations" rather than "every nation", such as in the case of the EU, which is an international body.

In making a database of information on various countries in Chinese, I've been unsure when to list data under 世界 and when to list it under 国际. For instance, if I were to have a map of GDP country by country, which would that be? If I were to instead have a global average of poverty across all countries as a single number, would that simply be under 世界?

It seems like a simple question, but I'd like to clear up the difference in nuance between these two words in my mind. Also, what differences are there between 国际's meaning, and the English nuances behind "international", if any?

3 Answers 3


I guess you just use them the same way as in English.
Look at e.g. this list: Everything that uses 国际 translates as 'international'. Similarly in this list everything that is 世界 translates as 'world'.

A map that shows all the countries and their GDP (as a choropleth) would be:


In the case of a poverty average, I think you would rather use global poverty or 全球减贫 in Chinese.

  • 5
    +1 for the inclusion of 全球 which I think would be more "Chinese", if you will, than the others.
    – Mou某
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 14:32

Start with some wikipedia definitions:


  1. 涉及到多个国家或者其公民的事物,比如国际条约。
  2. 作为形容词国际也常用来表示超出一个国家的国界的事物,比如国际水域。


For the GDP case, I think 世界各国GDP列表 would be better. 世界 might mean the world as a whole, so adding 各国 would be more precise. Nonetheless, omitting it might sound fine too.


1.世界=world Can be used as sustantive and adjetive. 国际=international Can be used as sustantive and adjetive. But mostly should be used as adjetive. 2.世界 is more common and popular, is widely used in everyday life. 国际 is used in some special occasions.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.