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 Dancers from Orlando Ballet will be part of the production, set in the gritty New York underworld. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, "Opera Orlando 2021-22 season: Verdi... and Lizzie," 30 Apr. 2021 Among the artifacts discovered were pieces of a 15-foot-long papyrus that included texts of the Book of the Dead, a collection of spells written by priests to help the deceased pass through the underworld and into the afterlife. Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post, "In the tombs of Saqqara, new discoveries are rewriting ancient Egypt’s history," 22 Apr. 2021 Gareth Evans’s two-part intro to this world has been heavy on gloomy atmosphere, exquisite fight scenes, and underworld world-building. Roxana Hadadi, Vulture, "Gangs of London Recap: A Peaceful Solution," 11 Apr. 2021 Two New York police detectives take an underworld upstart back to Osaka, Japan. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week ‘Pulp Fiction’ on BBC America and IFC," 9 Apr. 2021 Peifer skimmed 20% of his Hollyhocks profits and delivered them to police and city leaders in a bag each week so his underworld customers needn't worry. Curt Brown, Star Tribune, "St. Paul gangster's kidnapping trial came to dramatic end," 3 Apr. 2021 Readers will almost need a scorecard to keep track of all the underworld figures wandering through this one. David James, Anchorage Daily News, "The true stories of 12 notorious Alaska murder cases makes for a chilling, but gripping read," 13 Mar. 2021 If the sun were snuffed out today, these residents of the underworld likely wouldn’t know the difference. Raleigh Mcelvery, Science | AAAS, "Microbes are siphoning massive amounts of carbon from Earth’s tectonic plates," 22 Apr. 2021 She is compelled to return to the underworld forever, leaving Orpheus inconsolable. Heather Wishart-smith, Forbes, "Don’t Look Back: Innovation, Supply Chains And Moving Forward With Trust," 19 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for underworld

Time Traveler

The first known use of underworld was in 1598

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Statistics for underworld

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Underworld.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underworld. Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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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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