The unnamed title character of Gabriel Marcia Marquez's The Autumn of the Patriarch is a composite figure not only of Latin America despots, but of dictators the world over from Julius Caesar onward.

I would like to ask if the word "over" is used in the sentence as the preposition and if so why it come after the noun.

1 Answer 1


"The world over" is a kind of idiomatic expression using a poetic inversion of the typical word order. Here "over" does not mean "above" but rather "covering", as in "You should put sunscreen all over (your body) before going outside"

The (whole) world over (phrase): everywhere in the world, from all over the world.


Although written in English, Rawling's books about her beloved boy wizard are known the world over.

Although not originally native to many cultures, some form of bread is eaten the world over.

See also the similar idiom "around the world":

The Louvre in Paris attracts tourists from around the world.

Her books are famous around the world.

You can use a similar inversion with other nouns and prepositions, again as a kind of poetic device:

The dinner outside was particularly nice as there was a full moon.

Some philosophers speak of "the garden within" as a metaphorical place that needs regular care to avoid being overgrown with weeds.

  • Is "idiom" a cop out?
    – TimR
    Aug 2, 2017 at 18:00
  • 1
    @Tᴚoɯɐuo I don't think so? since it seems to be an ellipsis for the longer phrase "all over the world". Similar is "the world below", a poetic expression, short for, "the part of the world below an elevated (physical or metaphorical) position". But now that I think on it, this does seem to represent a somewhat poetic grammar structure, for example "the dinner outside", "the garden within" etc.
    – Andrew
    Aug 2, 2017 at 18:16
  • the long night through
    – TimR
    Aug 2, 2017 at 19:34

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