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underworld

[uhn-der-wurld] /ˈʌn dərˌwɜrld/
noun
1.
the criminal element of human society.
2.
the imagined abode of departed souls or spirits; Hades.
3.
a region below the surface, as of the earth or a body of water.
4.
the opposite side of the earth; the antipodes.
5.
Archaic. the earth.
Origin
1600-1610
1600-10; under- + world
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for under world

underworld

/ˈʌndəˌwɜːld/
noun
1.
  1. criminals and their associates considered collectively
  2. (as modifier): underworld connections
2.
the regions below the earth's surface regarded as the abode of the dead; Hades
related
adjectives chthonian chthonic
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for under world

underworld

n.

c.1600, "the lower world, Hades," also "the earth," as distinguished from heaven. Cf. German unterwelt, Dutch onderwereld, Danish underverden. Meaning "lower level of society" is first recorded 1890; "criminals and organized crime collectively" is attested from 1900.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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