Third World

Third World

noun (sometimes lowercase)
1.
the underdeveloped nations of the world, especially those with widespread poverty.
2.
the group of developing nations, especially of Asia and Africa, that do not align themselves with the policies of either the U.S. or the former Soviet Union.
3.
the minority groups within a nation or predominant culture.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
Third World
 
n
Also called: developing world the less economically advanced countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America collectively, esp when viewed as underdeveloped and as neutral in the East-West alignment

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

Third World
1963, from Fr. tiers monde, formulated 1952 by A. Sauvy on model of the third estate (Fr. tiers état) of Revolutionary France; his first world (The West) and second world (the Soviet bloc) never caught on.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

Third World definition


The nonaligned nations — which are often developing nations — of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. They are in a “third” group of nations because they were allied neither with the United States nor with the former Soviet Union.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

third world

Underdeveloped or developing countries, as in The conditions in our poorest rural areas resemble those in the third world. This expression originated in the mid-1900s, at first denoting those countries in Asia and Africa that were not aligned with either the Communist bloc nations or the non-Communist Western nations. Because they were for the most part poor and underdeveloped, the term was transferred to all countries with those characteristics, and later still to poorer groups within a larger prevailing culture.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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