un·​der·​class | \ ˈən-dər-ˌklas How to pronounce underclass (audio) \

Definition of underclass

: the lowest social stratum usually made up of disadvantaged minority groups

Examples of underclass in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Soon Shakur, too, became a Black radical, just as the civil rights momentum beget riots demanding an economic revolution, one that would take into account the intractable financial obstacles facing the Black underclass. Amanda Chicago Lewis, The New Republic, 4 Apr. 2022 In Kabul, war and poverty have long created a permanent underclass of child beggars, scavengers and shoeshine boys, but their numbers have soared in recent months. Washington Post, 23 Apr. 2022 But while The Edukators has sympathy for its underclass, Windfall is pitiless. Kate Knibbs, Wired, 18 Mar. 2022 Knight is fond of thickly underlining the metaphors at play in his scripts, but Dirty Pretty Things still delivers a powerful message about the lives of the modern British underclass. David Sims, The Atlantic, 26 Feb. 2022 Seeing only a black underclass ignores the growth of the black middle and upper classes. Gil Troy, WSJ, 23 Jan. 2022 Homelessness, which in Reagan-era New York City seemed to be a temporary aberration, has since curdled into something more like a structural disaster, making a permanent underclass of economic and mental health victims. New York Times, 11 Jan. 2022 After rural communes were dismantled in the 1980s, migrants flooded into cities and became a vast underclass that businesses could exploit. Ann Scott Tyson, The Christian Science Monitor, 11 Jan. 2022 But what may happen to America's disproportionately-minority underclass is even more important. Ryan Cooper, The Week, 24 June 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of underclass

1918, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of underclass was in 1918

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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Underclass.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underclass. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on underclass

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about underclass


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