un·​der·​world | \ ˈən-dər-ˌwərld How to pronounce underworld (audio) \

Definition of underworld

1 : the place of departed souls : hades
2 archaic : earth
3 : the side of the earth opposite to one : antipodes
4 : a social sphere below the level of ordinary life the town's seedy underworld especially : the world of organized crime

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Examples of underworld in a Sentence

a magazine article taking an insightful look at the underworld inhabited by street people

Recent Examples on the Web

The bloodshed in Yuen Long was widely blamed on members of Hong Kong’s criminal underworld, known as triads. The Economist, "Hong Kong’s violent protests against Chinese rule," 25 July 2019 Over the years, her disappearance has been linked to everything from the plot to kill St. John Paul II to the financial scandal of the Vatican bank and Rome's criminal underworld. Fox News, "Vatican finds bones, deepening mystery in search for girl who disappeared 36 years ago," 13 July 2019 Corrupt bail bondsman Bill Bailey holds enviable sway among the political elite and criminal underworld of 1933 Los Angeles. Houston Chronicle, "Outside the Megaplex: Here are the Houston arthouse movies showing July 12-18," 11 July 2019 It was suggested by an 11-year-old girl in England, who was interested in Roman legends and thought naming the icy planet after the god of the underworld was intriguing. Lauren Kent, CNN, "Why Pluto is no longer a planet (or is it?)," 24 Aug. 2019 The women have gotten progressively deeper into the criminal underworld, getting the better of the various men who have used and abused them, eventually landing at the very top of the local criminal food chain. Cate Young, Vox, "Claws is a love letter to the proud, strip mall–fabulous American woman," 2 Aug. 2019 Based on the violent life of the racketeer who ruled Chicago’s criminal underworld during the ‘20s and ‘30s. Los Angeles Times, "Here are the feature and TV films airing the week of Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019," 11 Aug. 2019 Judgement tells the story of Takayuki Yagami, a disgraced lawyer turned private eye with deep connections to Kamurocho’s criminal underworld. Matthew Gault, Time, "Judgement Is the Perfect Game for Getting Into Japan's Favorite Crime Series," 24 July 2019 Over the years, Emanuela's disappearance has been linked to everything from the plot to kill St. John Paul II to the financial scandal of the Vatican bank and Rome’s criminal underworld. NBC News, "Vatican recovers bones in bid to solve mystery of teen girl missing since 1983," 20 July 2019

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

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for underworld

Last Updated

11 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for underworld

The first known use of underworld was in 1598

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More Definitions for underworld



English Language Learners Definition of underworld

: the world of crime and criminals
: the place where dead people go in Greek myths


un·​der·​world | \ ˈən-dər-ˌwərld How to pronounce underworld (audio) \

Kids Definition of underworld

: the world of crime

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More from Merriam-Webster on underworld

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with underworld

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for underworld

Spanish Central: Translation of underworld

Nglish: Translation of underworld for Spanish Speakers

Comments on underworld

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


concealment of treason or felony

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