Abstract The “developed country” and “underdeveloped country” along with other relevant terms are prevailing concepts used to classify different countries in the field of global governance and international relations, making the base of the existing global discourse system dominated by the western countries. However, little attention has been given to the western ideology or discourse power behind these terms and related theories. Based on the review of related literature, the paper proposes four hypotheses: the relevant terms as “developed country” and “underdeveloped country” (1) reflect an isolated worldview, (2) neglect the responsibilities of “developed countries” in the West to those “underdeveloped” or “less-developed” countries, (3) disguise the fact of inequality among countries, and (4) promote a linear development strategy which propagates the myth of development for “undeveloped” and “less-developed” countries. The paper thus proposes a new research agenda in the perspective of discourse analysis, taking advantage of the linguistic method of discourse analysis to dig into the corpus database including related terms and to explore the underlying western ideology and discourse power. Meanwhile, an example is demonstrated to show the distinctive usefulness of discourse analysis. With all this as the background, there are three choices for other countries when confronted with these basic concepts implying Western hegemony: a radical approach to totally reject these terms, a modest way continuing the use while with prudence, and an eclectic plan. The study would help us better understand the existing Western discourse system and thus contribute to the reconstruction of a new discourse system for global governance.