un·​der·​de·​vel·​oped | \ˌən-dər-di-ˈve-ləpt \

Definition of underdeveloped 

1 : not normally or adequately developed underdeveloped muscles underdeveloped film

2 : having a relatively low economic level of industrial production and standard of living (as from lack of capital) underdeveloped nations

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Other Words from underdeveloped

underdevelopment \ ˌən-​dər-​di-​ˈve-​ləp-​mənt \ noun

Examples of underdeveloped in a Sentence

The baby was born with underdeveloped lungs.

Recent Examples on the Web

Randgold investors in effect get a share of underdeveloped assets that aren’t available on the market. Paul J. Davies, WSJ, "Barrick Gold May Need to Polish Up Its Offer for Randgold," 24 Sep. 2018 On top of that, Basra and the rest of southern Iraq have historically been ignored underdeveloped by the government. Jennifer Williams, Vox, "The violent protests in Iraq, explained," 8 Sep. 2018 Most Macedonians believe joining the bloc would strengthen their underdeveloped economy as well as their fragile institutions and democracy, surveys show. Nektaria Stamouli, WSJ, "Macedonia’s Deal With Greece Over Name Is Just a First Step Toward EU," 3 July 2018 Jenik good size at six-foot-one but is underdeveloped at just 165 pounds. azcentral, "NHL draft grades: Mixed reviews for Arizona Coyotes' 2018 NHL draft picks?," 25 June 2018 Railroad networks and highway systems also are underdeveloped. Mimi Whitefield, miamiherald, "Why are Latin American and Caribbean cities less productive? Mayors in Miami to discuss," 11 June 2018 Kristin Dziczek, an analyst with the Center for Automotive Research, said knockdown-kit exports also provide manufacturers a way to enter emerging markets where the auto industry is underdeveloped. Erica E. Phillips, WSJ, "Ports See Growth in Exports of Partly-Assembled Cars," 30 May 2018 The results are cumulative and Sente sought to protect the youngest children with underdeveloped brains and protective nerve coating. Fox News, "Proposed Illinois ban on youth tackle football dead for now," 18 Apr. 2018 For all the recent growth in neighborhoods like Dumbo and Williamsburg, large pockets of the city remain underpopulated and underdeveloped. Jonathan Mahler, New York Times, "The Case for the Subway," 3 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'underdeveloped.' 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 underdeveloped

1892, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for underdeveloped

The first known use of underdeveloped was in 1892

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English Language Learners Definition of underdeveloped

: not developed to a normal size or strength

of a country, society, etc. : having many poor people and few industries


un·​der·​de·​vel·​oped | \ˌən-dər-di-ˈvel-əpt \

Medical Definition of underdeveloped 

: not normally or adequately developed underdeveloped muscles underdeveloped lungs

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More from Merriam-Webster on underdeveloped

Spanish Central: Translation of underdeveloped

Nglish: Translation of underdeveloped for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of underdeveloped for Arabic Speakers

Comments on underdeveloped

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


by force of circumstances

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