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 The state is among a handful caught in a law vs. reality netherworld as legislatures and activists wrestle over how the issue will eventually play out. Grant Schulte, Star Tribune, "Nebraska death sentences continue despite no execution drugs," 9 May 2021 Theo had managed to sell only a few of his paintings — would seem to have ensured that Vincent van Gogh’s work would subsist eternally in a netherworld of obscurity. New York Times, "The Woman Who Made van Gogh," 14 Apr. 2021 In this netherworld of zero boundaries, Fincke tells clients to drape a scarf over their computer when they’re done with work: Think of it as a subtle door-slam on the day., "10 ways to make your days easier starting now," 2 Apr. 2021 To glimpse old photos of Jane and Serge is to enter a sophisticated netherworld that no longer exists, a glamorous fog of early-morning excess and possessed lust. Washington Post, "Jane Birkin is back with a new album, but her presence is everlasting," 19 Mar. 2021 Wetness and warmth somehow lurked below, offering the possibility for microbial life to arise and thrive—and the plumes were a window into that netherworld. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Cassini’s “Grand Finale” Will Be a Blaze of Glory," 14 Sep. 2017 So does Foxx’s voice, giving vivid form and feeling to an avatar of the netherworld. Justin Chang Film Critic, Los Angeles Times, "Review: It’s not quite ‘Inside Out,’ but Pixar’s metaphysical comedy ‘Soul’ will lift your spirits," 22 Dec. 2020 Having been passed over by every team in the draft, Eubanks signed a two-way deal — a hybrid contract that rests in the netherworld somewhere between an NBA and G League deal — with the Spurs. Jeff Mcdonald,, "The ace is at home: How the Spurs’ Drew Eubanks went from baseball prospect to NBA contract," 30 Nov. 2020 Yet Posey lived in a netherworld between free and unfree. Washington Post, "George Washington’s 1795 Thanksgiving celebrated liberty. But the chef behind the feast had none.," 19 Nov. 2020

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

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The first known use of netherworld was in 1632

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Statistics for netherworld

Last Updated

12 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Netherworld.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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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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