neth·​er·​world | \ˈne-t͟hər-ˌwərld \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of netherworld in a Sentence

the shadowy netherworld of all-night raves

Recent Examples on the Web

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 AP Privacy policy Terms & Conditions Copyright 2018, The Associated Press The system exists in a bureaucratic netherworld. Alex Leary And Steve Bousquet, miamiherald, "Who's holding immigrants in Florida? Private vendors, feds and county sheriffs, too.," 29 June 2018 Its inky black squiggles reappear on the white chairs, linking the two in a netherworld. Cate Mcquaid,, "Liz Shepherd and Michelle Lougee make the mundane memorable," 27 June 2018 The former mayor offered yet another glimpse into the netherworld of what the president's surrogates have characterized as nuisance claims against Trump. Laura King,, "Giuliani: Trump wouldn't 'have to' obey a Mueller subpoena, could take the 5th," 6 May 2018 But in this case, the standings seemed to take the reader into some mathematical netherworld. David Waldstein, New York Times, "The Yankees Are in First Place. Or Second Place. Either Way, They Beat the Rays.," 14 June 2018 There are two crazy ideas floating in the NBA netherworld now that games are done and an idle vacuum consumes us: 1. Dave Hyde,, "Hyde: Chances for LeReturn this summer? Zero and none | Commentary," 12 June 2018 In each, some ordinary postwar British person—a chartered accountant, a banker, a civil servant, a member of the local committee for overseeing public space—is drawn quite unknowing into a netherworld. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Weird Fiction Is Alive," 7 May 2018 Except for Loyola of Chicago, the history of every member of this year’s Final Four has one foot in the netherworld of the Vacated. Charles P. Pierce,, "It's Time for the NCAA to Reinstate the Vacated Teams to College Basketball's Record Books," 1 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.

See More

First Known Use of netherworld

1632, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about netherworld

Share netherworld

Statistics for netherworld

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for netherworld

The first known use of netherworld was in 1632

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for netherworld



English Language Learners Definition of netherworld

the netherworld : the world of the dead

: a place unknown to most people where secret and often illegal things are done

More from Merriam-Webster on netherworld

See words that rhyme with netherworld

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for netherworld

Comments on netherworld

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


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!