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in Germanic cosmology, "world inhabited by men (opposed to Asgard, the abode of the gods), 1882, from Old Norse miðgarðr, from mið "mid" (see mid) + Proto-Germanic *gardoz "enclosure, tract" (see yard (n.1)). The Old English cognate was middangeard, which later was folk-etymologized as middle earth (late 13c.).