- the underdeveloped nations of the world, especially those with widespread poverty.
- the group of developing nations, especially of Asia and Africa, that do not align themselves with the policies of either the U.S. or the former Soviet Union.
- the minority groups within a nation or predominant culture.
Examples from the Web for third world
Brazil is transforming itself, from third-world to first-world.Brazil's School Shooting: What Happened Inside
April 9, 2011
Now, the infrastructure is “world-class—not third-world,” Nhlumayo said.Will the World Cup Screw Africa?
May 24, 2010
These two states represent a third-world option designed to woo developing nations to Iran's side.Iran's Nuclear Ploy Will Backfire
May 18, 2010
It also helped that Angelina had recently adopted a child from a third-world country.How to Wreck a Home
December 19, 2008
- the less economically advanced countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America collectively, esp when viewed as underdeveloped and as neutral in the East-West alignmentAlso called: developing world
Word Origin and History for third world
1963, from French tiers monde, formulated 1952 by French economic historian Alfred Sauvy (1898-1990) on model of the third estate (French tiers état) of Revolutionary France; his first world (The West) and second world (the Soviet bloc) never caught on.
Idioms and Phrases with third world
Underdeveloped or developing countries, as in The conditions in our poorest rural areas resemble those in the third world. This expression originated in the mid-1900s, at first denoting those countries in Asia and Africa that were not aligned with either the Communist bloc nations or the non-Communist Western nations. Because they were for the most part poor and underdeveloped, the term was transferred to all countries with those characteristics, and later still to poorer groups within a larger prevailing culture.