[uhn-der-di-vel-uh pt]


improperly or insufficiently developed.
Photography. (of a negative) less developed than is normal, so as to produce a relatively dark positive lacking in contrast.

Origin of underdeveloped

First recorded in 1890–95; under- + develop + -ed2


[uhn-der-di-vel-uh p]

verb (used with object)

to develop (something) short of the required amount: to underdevelop film.

Origin of underdevelop

Related formsun·der·de·vel·op·ment, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for underdeveloped

Contemporary Examples of underdeveloped

Historical Examples of underdeveloped

  • In some ways, compared to those of Terra, the industries of Tepokt were underdeveloped.


    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

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



(tr) 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 Formsunderdevelopment, 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

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

Medicine definitions for underdeveloped




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.