as we know it


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as we know it

As it is now or has been for a long time; as we currently experience it. Environmental issues like that threaten the world as we know it.
See also: know, we

— as we know it

as is familiar or customary in the present.
1991 Scientific American Now that all-out nuclear war seems to be receding as an imminent threat to life as we know it, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has come up with something else to keep us worried: doomsday asteroids.
See also: know, we

as we know it

As something is currently understood or viewed. This phrase usually implies that current conditions will change, as, for example, “Nuclear warfare will mark the end of civilization as we know it.” First recorded in the late 1800s, the phrase began to be widely used from the 1940s on and has reached cliché status.
See also: know, we