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世{せ}界{かい} has a few different meanings, but when I looked it up in the dictionary, I saw one definition as a noun had some overlap with 世{よ}の中{なか}, a piece of vocabulary I'd learned earlier:

  • 世の中: society, the world, the times
  • 世界: the world, society, the universe

Is 世の中 used interchangeably with this meaning for 世界? The "the times" definition for the former (alongside "society") as well as this answer make me think it might be used in contexts such as "in this day and age" and such, whereas the latter might be used to described the physical world — is that the case?

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世の中 is "(human) society (around us)" or "(this human) world". 世の中 is often interchangeable with 世間. You may use "world" as a translation of 世の中 only when it refers to this human society you are familiar with. For example, "(Wow) it's a small world!" is 世の中は狭いね (or 世間は狭いね) in Japanese. 世の中/世間 basically refers to the society as far as you can personally recognize and interact with through daily conversations, media, economic activities, etc.

世界 is a word that corresponds to "world" in nearly all cases. You can say 世界中 "all over the world", ファンタジー世界 "fantasy world", クラシック音楽の世界 "the world of classical music", ハリー・ポッターの世界 "the world of Harry Potter", 別の世界 "another world" and so on.

See also: 社会 【しゃかい】 and 世間 【せけん】 -- what is the difference?

EDIT: For example, 世の中の仕組み ("How 世の中 works") typically refers to things like politics, tax, police, schools and such, while 世界の仕組み typically refers to more fundamental things like gravity, inertia, atoms, time and DNA.

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