from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Life below the surface; hence, a way of living apart and different from the life open to the common knowledge or view.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • If I wrote these things Sheng does, which I can see well enough are exquisite, why, then I remember these dark faces and these hovels and all this deep under-life of which he knows nothing and will not know.


  • After three unsuccessful novels, he broke through in the mid-1930s with two books that captured Europe's under-life during the Depression: Down and Out in Paris and London (for which he adopted the pseudonym George Orwell) and The Road to Wigan Pier.

    George Orwell at 100: Revisiting a Life Steeped in Contradictions

  • He would have us live out our lives, die one by one, till only one remains, and that one at last would die also, and they would cut down all the giant plants and weeds, kill all the giant under-life, burn out the traces of the Food — make an end to us and to the Food for ever.

    The Food of the Gods and how it came to Earth

  • He made her go all vague and quiet, as if she sank away heavy and still, away from the surface of life, and lay deep in the under-life.

    The Plumed Serpent

  • She dwelt upon them and tried to construct an under-life out of the past, made up only of sweet things amongst which all that had not been good should be forgotten.

    Casa Braccio, Volumes 1 and 2 (of 2)

  • This was the under-life, the under-current, of which reformers prate so much and know so little.

    A Man and a Woman

  • It 's only a glimpse of the under-life of America, -- God help us!

    Margret Howth: A Story of To-Day

  • From the Elgin marbles down to the lightest tendril that curls round a capital in the thirteenth century, every piece of stone that has been touched by the hand of a master, becomes soft with under-life, not resembling nature merely in skin-texture, nor in fibres of leaf, or veins of flesh; but in the broad, tender, unspeakably subtle undulation of its organic form.

    Lectures on Art Delivered before the University of Oxford in Hilary term, 1870


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.