un·​der·​class | \ˈən-dər-ˌklas \

Definition of underclass 

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

Examples of underclass in a Sentence

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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 Above us are the elites with their champagne and free jazz; below us, the suppurating underclass. James Parker, The Atlantic, "Live-Streaming the Apocalypse With NRATV," 5 May 2018 Its actions could help concentrate higher education in the upper class, and contribute to the entrenchment of a permanent underclass. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "Columbia’s War On Labor," 1 May 2018 Four total placers could return with 8/16 being underclass. Brant Parsons, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Florida statewide Class 3A way-too-early individual wrestling rankings," 20 Mar. 2018 In the book, the downturn at the plant represents the frustrations of the white American underclass in Middletown, which gets its name for being equidistant from Cincinnati and Dayton along Interstate 75 in southwest Ohio. Randy Tucker, USA TODAY, "In a struggling Ohio steel town, residents cheer President Trump's proposed tariffs," 7 Mar. 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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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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playful or foolish behavior

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