neth·​er·​world | \ ˈne-t͟hər-ˌwərld How to pronounce netherworld (audio) \

Definition of netherworld

1 : the world of the dead
2 : underworld sense 4 the netherworld of deceit … and espionage— R. M. Nixon
3 : no-man's-land sense 2 lost in a bureaucratic netherworld

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Examples of netherworld in a Sentence

the shadowy netherworld of all-night raves
Recent Examples on the Web These shameful performances often take place before pot-bellied men enacting the ancient king’s annual return from exile in the netherworld to meet his subjects. Harish Pullanoor, Quartz India, "We, the permanent villains of Indian mythology, must reclaim our fallen icons," 30 Dec. 2019 The company is stuck in an uncomfortable netherworld: not big enough to present a big threat to drugstore rivals Walgreens and CVS but not agile or rich enough to reinvent itself. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "These retailers are facing the fight for their lives in 2020: Sears, Forever 21, Pier 1," 27 Dec. 2019 Sadly, the majority of films exist in this netherworld of underappreciation. Adam Epstein, Quartzy, "Seven fantastic, under-the-radar movies you may have missed in 2019," 7 Dec. 2019 Two are sovereign members of the United Nations; one is a territory of China; the other exists in a diplomatic netherworld. The Economist, "Asian tigersAfter half a century of success, the Asian tigers must reinvent themselves," 5 Dec. 2019 In many ways, San Francisco’s abrupt rise from football’s netherworld — a 25-55 record and no playoff appearances the previous five seasons — traces to Kyle Shanahan’s work. Ron Kroichick,, "49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan: From ball boy to head coach," 31 Oct. 2019 Like Excalibur resting at the bottom of a lake, the Guarantee Clause waits to be pulled from the constitutional netherworld and wielded on behalf of the people. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Make the Guarantee Clause Great Again," 17 July 2019 Both — or neither — coexist within a netherworld of possibility. Quanta Magazine, "Entanglement Made Simple," 28 Apr. 2016 The 17 dancers do everything, including shaking their booties, to make the urban netherworld look inviting. Allan Ulrich, San Francisco Chronicle, "Ailey dancers strike gold in annual UC visit," 11 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'netherworld.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of netherworld

1632, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for netherworld

Time Traveler

The first known use of netherworld was in 1632

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Statistics for netherworld

Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Netherworld.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 27 January 2020.

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How to pronounce netherworld (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of netherworld

literary : the world of the dead
: a place unknown to most people where secret and often illegal things are done

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What made you want to look up netherworld? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that suddenly gains wealth or power

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