nether world

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also nether world (nĕth′ər-wûrld′)
1. The world of the dead.
2. A situtation in which one's status is uncertain, marginal, or undefined: "He was caught in the netherworld between the lowest levels of minor league baseball and the highest level of amateur play" (Tim Wakefield with Tony Massarotti). "She grew up in a kind of a class netherworld, not quite her father's daughter, not quite a servant" (Nina Sovich).
3. The part of society engaged in crime and vice: "Once they found themselves on the streets, they fell very quickly into the criminal netherworld" (Anne Applebaum).

neth′er·world′ly adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

nether world



1. the world after death; the underworld
2. hell
3. a criminal underworld
Also called (for senses 1, 2): nether regions
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

neth′er world`

or neth′er•world`,

1. the infernal regions; hell.
2. the criminal underworld.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
No sound Of bird now flutters from the hushed hillside; All, all is still, save for the wind that wails And whistles through the long night where the ghosts Hither and thither in the gloom go by, And spirits from the nether world arise Under the ominous clouds.
Intently he listened for any sound from the nether world, but all was as silent below as above; the house under the ground seemed to be but one more empty tenement in the void.
Modern bourgeois society with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells.
Henceforth our work is to be a sealed book to her, till at least such time as we can tell her that all is finished, and the earth free from a monster of the nether world. I daresay it will be difficult to begin to keep silence after such confidence as ours, but I must be resolute, and tomorrow I shall keep dark over tonight's doings, and shall refuse to speak of anything that has happened.
She swore, and invoked all the gods of the nether world, who are called Titans, to witness.
This most afflicts me, that departing hence, As from his face I shall be hid, deprivd His blessed count'nance; here I could frequent, With worship, place by place where he voutsaf'd Presence Divine, and to my Sons relate; On this Mount he appeerd, under this Tree Stood visible, among these Pines his voice I heard, here with him at this Fountain talk'd: So many grateful Altars I would reare Of grassie Terfe, and pile up every Stone Of lustre from the brook, in memorie, Or monument to Ages, and thereon Offer sweet smelling Gumms & Fruits and Flours: In yonder nether World where shall I seek His bright appearances, or footstep trace?
I have still not been able to decide that what I had seen was merely a figment of my fertile imagination, or were the spirits of the monks still going about their business unable to make the transition into the nether world.
Equally a teacher could decide, as some do, that a child aged 11 is genetically not up to passing certain exams so they will consign them to the heap that will serve their betters, or vanish into a nether world of jobless misery.
'Onam' is an annual celebration of the homecoming of mythical 'King Mahabali', who is believed to come from the nether world to check on his citizens.
One, the mission is built on a solid foundation: 'On this rock I will build my church.' Two, the mission is guaranteed to succeed, 'and the gates of the nether world will not prevail against it.'
This is exemplified by Ofelia's eventual entrance into the nether world, which is analogous with the religious notion of an afterlife.
Considering Europe and North America in turn, he characterizes such cities as Paris: or, Lutetia, the filthy marsh; London: the nether world of the city of dreadful night; New York City: a city set in a mosquito-infested swamp; and Toronto: a city set in malarial lakeside swamps.