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[uhn-der-di-vel-uh pt] /ˌʌn dər dɪˈvɛl əpt/
improperly or insufficiently developed.
Photography. (of a negative) less developed than is normal, so as to produce a relatively dark positive lacking in contrast.
developing (def 2).
Origin of underdeveloped
First recorded in 1890-95; under- + develop + -ed2


[uhn-der-di-vel-uh p] /ˌʌn dər dɪˈvɛl əp/
verb (used with object)
to develop (something) short of the required amount:
to underdevelop film.
Related forms
underdevelopment, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for underdeveloped
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In some ways, compared to those of Terra, the industries of Tepokt were underdeveloped.

    Exile Horace Brown Fyfe
  • An overdeveloped child is likely to be an underdeveloped man.

    Outwitting Our Nerves Josephine A. Jackson and Helen M. Salisbury
  • We must encourage the development of resources and enterprises in all parts of the country, particularly in underdeveloped areas.

  • His father and grandfather had been illiterate men and he had inherited their underdeveloped brain cells.

  • The men had better heads than the women, underdeveloped yet comparatively well balanced.

    In the Forbidden Land Arnold Henry Savage Landor
  • Though immature and underdeveloped by Terran standards, she had a fair figure for a Dry-town woman.

    The Door Through Space Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • This is because it is underdeveloped, the chemicals acting too quickly to allow it to gain density.

British Dictionary definitions for underdeveloped


immature or undersized
relating to societies in which both the surplus capital and the social organization necessary to advance are lacking
(photog) (of a film, plate, or print) processed in developer for less than the required time, thus lacking in contrast


(transitive) (photog) to process (a film, plate, or paper) in developer for less than the required time, or at too low a temperature, or in an exhausted solution
Derived Forms
underdevelopment, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for underdeveloped

1892, in the photography sense, under + past participle of develop. In reference to countries or regions, recorded from 1949.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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underdeveloped in Medicine

underdeveloped un·der·de·vel·oped (ŭn'dər-dĭ-věl'əpt)
Not adequately or normally developed; immature.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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