Definition of underworld in English:


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  • 1The world of criminals or of organized crime.

    ‘a man reputed to be a godfather of the Glasgow underworld’
    • ‘a prominent underworld figure’
    • ‘It is suggested that an underworld crime figure planned to grab the mother and her child and to demand a six figure sum.’
    • ‘Detectives hunting a gunman who executed a father-of-three in a gangland murder have appealed to the criminal underworld to help nail the killer.’
    • ‘Too late they discover that he is an underworld crime lord, and that crossing him results in an inevitable slow and painful death.’
    • ‘In the city, corruption runs rampant, from the government offices to the gangland hangouts of underworld figures.’
    • ‘He deals with all sorts of crime in the underworld of this city, from petty theft to murder, and everything in between.’
    • ‘The criminal underworld was considering hiring foreign hit-men for a possible assassination attempt.’
    • ‘Gardaí have repeatedly raised concerns at the poor security measures taken by many legal gun owners and the extent to which these firearms end up in the criminal underworld, to be used in shootings and murders.’
    • ‘A number of journalists were attacked in 2003 as a result of their investigation into the criminal underworld.’
    • ‘Kidnapping, now seen as a dying business in the criminal underworld, had its heyday in the 1980s when some of the country's richest businessmen were the subject of ransom demands.’
    • ‘The book, which deals with the criminal underworld, will be published next year, and has been described as a ‘thrilling literary debut’.’
    • ‘‘I have always been fascinated by secret societies and the criminal underworld,’ she replied calmly.’
    • ‘Last year, the unit seized more than 200 illegal guns and more than 3,500 rounds of assorted ammunition, which are in demand in the criminal underworld.’
    • ‘The newspaper understands he was believed to be involved in hits and suspected of supplying ammunition and possibly firearms to the criminal underworld.’
    • ‘Once, however, she realized that she could choose for herself whether or not to continue her life in the criminal underworld, she chose to get out.’
    • ‘His sentiments about modern life and the criminal underworld reveal a pragmatic, yet easy going man, gradually helping to make his own vulnerability a point of concern.’
    • ‘The violent, bloodthirsty gang who are holding him are notorious throughout the criminal underworld.’
    • ‘I like doing freelance work for the criminal underworld.’
    • ‘Mr Williams praised the Gardaí but vowed not to be intimidated by those in the criminal underworld who he has been exposing for more than a decade.’
    • ‘They have run the biggest drug businesses, which have been going for a long time, very successfully, in the criminal underworld.’
    • ‘He introduces him to the criminal underworld and, as partners, they rob and beat men in darkened alleys.’
    criminal world, world of crime, organized crime
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  • 2The mythical abode of the dead, imagined as being under the earth.

    ‘To gain entrance to this forbidden domain she threatened to break down the gates of the underworld, free the dead and devour the living.’
    • ‘She also guides Persephone to the underworld and back twice a year and thus has a part to play in the seasons.’
    • ‘During the last six millennia, the hero's journey to the underworld of the dead has been a main part of epic storylines.’
    • ‘Persephone was forced to live a dual life in both the underworld and earth after eating the pomegranate seeds given to her by Hades.’
    • ‘I am a living breathing hormonal teenage girl though I would much rather prefer to be a living dead goddess of the underworld with no emotions at all.’
    • ‘Alice asked, craving more answers from this plethora of magical knowledge Clay seemed to possess about the underworld and earth.’
    • ‘The last of the Titans, Typhon was the son of the earth and the underworld.’
    • ‘And I will be more powerful than any other on the face of the earth or in the underworld.’
    • ‘The concept of the dead travelling through the underworld in a boat is regularly depicted in the Valley of the Kings and the tombs of the Pharaohs.’
    • ‘Both were mighty queens in the underworld where they cast light upon the dead in their darkness.’
    • ‘The spirit assumes the appearance of a dead man and goes down to the underworld.’
    • ‘In the myth she was abducted by the God of the underworld, Pluto, and stolen away to his kingdom of Hades.’
    • ‘Like other similar goddesses, she has her connection with the underworld: in the Book of the Dead she is shown accompanying the soul to judgement and providing the deceased with food and drink.’
    • ‘Pluto, or Hades, rules the underworld but even he was taken by the power of love and lust, for Proserpina.’
    • ‘In the myth of the Orpheus / Eurydice saga, Orpheus was given a dispensation by Pluto to return his wife from the underworld (she had been bitten by a poisonous serpent and died).’
    • ‘Pluto is the mythological ruler of the underworld, the keeper of dark secrets.’
    • ‘Orpheus retrieves Eurydice from the underworld on the condition that he not look back at her shadow until both have emerged from the vale of Avernus.’
    • ‘Like Orpheus bringing Eurydice out of the underworld, it seems the novelist cannot look directly at love without losing it.’
    • ‘In the famous sixth book of the Aeneid, Aeneas travels to the underworld in search of his father, Anchises.’
    • ‘When Aeneas travels to the underworld, as most heroes do, he is accompanied by Sibyl, his guide sent by Apollo.’
    the netherworld, the abode of the dead, the land of the dead, the infernal regions, the nether regions, hell, the abyss
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