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

They were replaced by poor people of color who would be scapegoated as potential criminals and trapped by disinvestment in public schools and other social services into permanent underclass status. Ed Morales, Washington Post, "‘When They See Us’ is a reminder of the racial hysteria that gripped NYC in the 1990s — and that still lingers," 7 June 2019 Now as much as any time in the past, there is an underclass, people who are neglected or forgotten in society, and are despised. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Why Les Misérables's Dominic West Thinks Jean Valjean Is a Better Hero Than Spiderman," 15 Apr. 2019 The resulting movie presents a rare inside perspective on the American South’s black underclass, sharing the celebrations and stresses of a tight-knit but desperately poor community. Noel Murray, The Verge, "The 10 best documentaries of 2018," 18 Dec. 2018 More Film Reviews There, puppets constitute a permanent underclass; plushy criminals are pursued; metaphors, mercifully, aren’t. John Anderson, WSJ, "‘The Happytime Murders’ Review: Stuffed With Laughs," 23 Aug. 2018 Their children are, on average, poorer, less educated and have fewer prospects — an underclass in a wealthy and aging nation that can ill-afford to lose a significant chunk of its future workforce. Yoshiaki Nohara, Bloomberg.com, "In One of the World’s Richest Countries, Most Single Mothers Live in Poverty," 24 June 2018 Just think about how many things we (overlook): The lives of the underclass, or the angry. James Hebert, sandiegouniontribune.com, "La Jolla Playhouse going out on a limb with world-premiere Robert Askins comedy 'The Squirrels'," 1 June 2018 Joseph Quinn brings Matt Saracen–levels of stuttering pathos to his role as the underclass suitor Leonard Bast. Kat Stoeffel, The Cut, "Howards End Is the Anti–Handmaid’s Tale," 17 May 2018 The economic rewards have yet to trickle down to the white underclass from the corporations that just got a big tax cut, but the psychological benefit of having a race warrior in the White House is real. Isobel Thompson, The Hive, "White House Doubles Down After Trump Says Illegal Immigrants “Aren’t People”," 17 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of underclass

1918, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for underclass

Last Updated

28 Jun 2019

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The first known use of underclass was in 1918

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English Language Learners Definition of underclass

: a social class made up of people who are very poor and have very little power or chance to improve their lives : the lowest social class

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More from Merriam-Webster on underclass

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with underclass

Spanish Central: Translation of underclass

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about underclass

Comments on underclass

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an act or instance of editing or removing

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