Skip to content


Definition of Underground

The word underground or subterranean in English is of North American origin and is used to designate the countercultural movements that are considered alternative, parallel, contrary, or alien to the official culture.

SYNONYMS FOR Underground

  1. Clandestine, hidden
  2. Illegal, illicit
  3. Underground, covert.

ORIGIN OF Underground

This word was first used in the sense of that which developed on the fringes of public cultural activity, to refer to certain underground resistance movements against repressive regimes.

The use of the term underground as an adjective applied to a subculture was first used in 1953 to refer to the movements that fought and resisted during World War II against the German occupation, establishing a direct relationship between the dominant culture and the Nazis.

In general terms, these are expressions that fundamentally take place within the contemporary urban cultural dynamics, in this sense there is music, literature, cinema and underground art, which later became known as urban art or movements.

This countercultural form is characterized by the set of musical movements that emerged in the underground scene. Some of these genres that have become very popular today are punk, rap, hip hop and reggaeton.

Similarly other genres, such as grunge and metal have also seen their birth from the underground scene.
Throughout history there have been other movements of an underground nature such as the protest movements of the hippies and the beat in the United States.


It can be used as an adjective to designate something that is ‘subway’, ‘clandestine’ or ‘alternative’, when referring to movements of the cultural type.

As an adverb, underground designates that which is ‘underground’.

As a noun, on the other hand, it can refer to ‘subway’ or ‘subterranean’, as well as ‘marginal’ or ‘alternative’ in cultural art movements.