underworld vs netherworld

Tan Elaine

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I was taught that "underworld" has the same meaning as "netherworld".

Do native speakers use "underworld" to mean "netherworld"?

Thanks.
 
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emsr2d2

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I'm aware of the word "netherworld" from horror/fantasy stories but it's not commonly used in BrE. The "underworld" is understood to mean hell (sometimes called Hades and probably multiple other terms).
 

Rover_KE

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The underworld also means 'the criminal elements of a civilised society' (Collins). The same dictionary gives the same meaning for 'netherworld', but the latter is much less common.

Have we never recommended Ngrams to you? Everybody should bookmark the site.
 

Tdol

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I haven't heard netherworld used for criminal elements. I associate it with horror and fantasy writing like Emsr2d2.
 
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