Third World

(redirected from 3rd world)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial.

Third World,

the technologically less advanced, or developing, nations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, generally characterized as poor, having economies distorted by their dependence on the export of primary products to the developed countries in return for finished products. These nations also tend to have high rates of illiteracy, disease, and population growth and unstable governments. The term Third World was originally intended to distinguish the nonaligned nations that gained independence from colonial rule beginning after World War II from the Western nations and from those that formed the Communist Eastern bloc, and sometimes more specifically from the United States and from the Soviet Union (the first and second worlds, respectively). For the most part the term has not included China. Politically, the Third World emerged at the Bandung ConferenceBandung Conference,
meeting of representatives of 29 African and Asian nations, held at Bandung, Indonesia, in 1955. The aim—to promote economic and cultural cooperation and to oppose colonialism—was more or less achieved in an atmosphere of cordiality.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (1955), which resulted in the establishment of the Nonaligned MovementNonaligned Movement,
organized movement of nations that attempted to form a third world force through a policy of nonalignment with the United States and Soviet Union. Yugoslavia, India, Indonesia, Egypt, and Ghana were instrumental in founding (1961) the movement, which grew
..... Click the link for more information.
. Numerically, the Third World dominates the United Nations, but the group is diverse culturally and increasingly economically, and its unity is only hypothetical. The oil-rich nations, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Libya, and the newly emerged industrial states, such as Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore, have little in common with desperately poor nations, such as Haiti, Chad, and Afghanistan.


See A. R. Kasdan, The Third World: A New Focus for Development (1973); E. Hermassi, The Third World Reassessed (1980); H. A. Reitsma and J. M. Kleinpenning, The Third World in Perspective (1985); J. Cole, Development and Underdevelopment (1987).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

Third World

countries mainly found in Asia, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, many having been colonies until the mid-20th-century, and today manifesting lower levels of INDUSTRIALIZATION and general living standards than the advanced industrial countries.

The term was first used in the early 1950s and taken up by Third World political leaders engaged in independence movements against European COLONIALISM. It signified the positive idea that politically and economically their countries would develop in ways different both from the first world, Western Europe and the US, and the second world of the USSR and the Soviet Bloc. Subsequently, the term has become associated with negative aspects of poor living standards, great social inequality, economic stagnation and political instability such that many people living in these countries now resent the use of the term. Alternatives preferred by some authors include underdeveloped, NEOCOLONIAL, less developed countries (LDCs), oppressed nations, peripheral or nonaligned countries. The recent emergence of NEWLY INDUSTRIALIZING COUNTRIES alongside countries that are stagnating or becoming poorer (sometimes referred to as the FOURTH WORLD), and the further division between socialist and non-socialist countries have highlighted the issue of whether such a blanket term is useful for referring to such a diverse range of countries. However, the term still has wide social scientific and general usage. Various attempts have been made to distinguish the Third World both qualitatively and quantitatively (see Thomas et al., 1994), and Worsley (1984) has defended its utility. See also SOCIOLOGY OF DEVELOPMENT, DEPENDENCY, UNDERDEVELOPMENT, CENTRE AND PERIPHERY.

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Third World


a term used in sociopolitical and scholarly literature to designate the developing countries.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Third World

the less economically advanced countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America collectively, esp when viewed as underdeveloped and as neutral in the East-West alignment. Also called: developing world
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
He will also attend the opening ceremony of the 3rd World Nomad Games on September 2 in Issyk-Kul and the summit of the Turkic speaking nations.
They discussed Kyrgyz-Tajik bilateral cooperation and participation of Tajikistani delegation in the 3rd World Nomad Games.
2,307 sportsmen from 79 countries of the world are expected to participate in the 3rd World Nomad Games, the WNG Secretariat reports.
Semyonovka village council banned alcohol in the Kyrchyn gorge, where the 3rd World Nomad Games cultural part will be held in early September, governor of the Issyk-Kul district Danir Imanaliyev said.
Snow leopard is chosen as the 3rd World Nomad Games' mascot, secretariat of the Games on August 17.
It was also mentioned during the meeting that one of the TV channels of Korea will cover the 3rd World Nomad Games set for September 2-8 in Cholpon-Ata.
179 foreign media applied for the coverage of the 3rd World Nomad Games and 113 applications are being processed, said Deputy Minister of Culture of Kyrgyzstan Ainura Temirbekova.
A seminar on the legal protection of traditional knowledge and the traditional expression of culture will take place in Kyrgyzstan as a part of the 3rd World Nomad Games on September 1-4, the Secretariat of the Games said.
175 million soms ($2,568,807) were allocated for the Ministry of Culture to hold the 3rd World Nomad Games, Deputy Culture Minister Ainura Temirbekova said.
The best masters and craftsmen will showcase their works in Kyrchyn gorge during the 3rd World Nomad Games, reports the Secretariat of the Games.