The bronze script of character World is
There are two explanations from different views.
First is that it is branches and leaves (see Post 202), the strokes are branches and the dots are leaves. The leaves sprout in spring, and fall in the fall, making a life circle of the leaf. So the character means "Life cycle".
Second is that it is a foot (see Post 93), which means that you walk on foot to any where in the world. So the character means World.
The character still has the two meanings now.
There is another meaning from famous《说文解字》- Analytical Dictionary of Characters: Thirty. Each branch is ten, so totally is Thirty. In ancient time, average life span is about thirty years. So thirty years is a life cycle of human been. But the character has no this meaning right now because there is a specific character for Thirty: 卅, which actually is similar to the character we are discussing.
The big seal script of the character is
Same as clerical script.
Its pinyin is Shi4.