Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

2017 Word of the Year

underworld

[uhn-der-wurld] /ˈʌn dərˌwɜrld/
noun
1.
the criminal element of human society.
2.
the imagined abode of departed souls or spirits; Hades.
3.
a region below the surface, as of the earth or a body of water.
4.
the opposite side of the earth; the antipodes.
5.
Archaic. the earth.
Origin of underworld
1600-1610
First recorded in 1600-10; under- + world
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for underworld
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was to him preposterous, for she was one of that underworld against which he was ruthlessly at war.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • She died of the sting, and was lost to him in the underworld.

    Old Greek Folk Stories Told Anew Josephine Preston Peabody
  • He would also conduct through his underworld any one who had the leisure and inclination.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • It means what it meant to Orpheus when he followed Eurydice to the underworld.

    Glory of Youth Temple Bailey
  • "Well, let us get busy with the underworld of Japan," Jack said.

    Boy Scouts in the Philippines G. Harvey Ralphson
British Dictionary definitions for underworld

underworld

/ˈʌndəˌwɜːld/
noun
1.
  1. criminals and their associates considered collectively
  2. (as modifier): underworld connections
2.
the regions below the earth's surface regarded as the abode of the dead; Hades
related
adjectives chthonian chthonic
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for underworld
n.

c.1600, "the lower world, Hades," also "the earth," as distinguished from heaven. Cf. German unterwelt, Dutch onderwereld, Danish underverden. Meaning "lower level of society" is first recorded 1890; "criminals and organized crime collectively" is attested from 1900.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for underworld

Word Value for underworld

15
18
Scrabble Words With Friends