noun, often attributive
\ ˈsi-tē How to pronounce city (audio) \
plural cities

Definition of city

1a : an inhabited place of greater size, population, or importance than a town or village We spent the weekend in the city.
b : an incorporated British town usually of major size or importance having the status of an episcopal see

c capitalized

(1) : the financial district of London
(2) : the influential financial interests of the British economy
d : a usually large or important municipality in the U.S. governed under a charter granted by the state
e : an incorporated municipal unit of the highest class in Canada
3 : the people of a city The city rebelled against the oppressive government.
4 slang : a thing, event, or situation that is strongly characterized by a specified quintessential feature or quality The movie was shoot-out city. Getting lost in the maze was panic city.

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Examples of city in a Sentence

major cities like London, Tokyo, and Rome The city is working to make the streets safer. a lawsuit against the city
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Recent Examples on the Web

Clashes between tribes in the city have killed at least 16 people. The Economist, "Politics this week," 31 Aug. 2019 In pursuing this approach, the book suggests, Assad was following the playbook that his father had developed in ruthlessly crushing dissent, most notably in a brutal attack against an uprising in the city of Hama in 1982. Anthony Dworkin, Washington Post, "A view of Syria’s civil war, from Assad’s inner circle," 30 Aug. 2019 The Louisville football team takes on Notre Dame at 9 p.m. Monday at Cardinal Stadium, so Cards fans shouldn't have to worry about Fighting Irish faithful spending *too* much time in the city.. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "Whose side are you on? Slugger Museum offers deals to Notre Dame fans during game week," 30 Aug. 2019 Chicago played a night game against the Mets in New York on Thursday night and didn’t get back home until 2:20 a.m. The Brewers bused to Chicago late Thursday afternoon and had a leisurely night in the city. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Cubs 7, Brewers 1: Anderson shelled early, Hiura exits with injury as slide continues," 30 Aug. 2019 Data show most incidents occurred in the city of San Diego, but hate crimes were reported in more than 20 communities from Imperial Beach to Fallbrook. Lyndsay Winkley, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Hate crimes cataloged: Five years of malice and spite in San Diego County," 30 Aug. 2019 The association has urged landlords in the city to halve rents for six months. Eric Lam, Fortune, "Hong Kong Retail Concerns Worsen Amid Steady Protests," 30 Aug. 2019 At its height, more than 50,000 people lived in the city. Jennifer Billock, Smithsonian, "Follow the Ancient Amber Road," 29 Aug. 2019 Many have lived in the city for decades and long ago established legal residency, but new arrivals who weren’t authorized to enter the country could face deportation. Koby Levin, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit superintendent's plan to protect students could get him in trouble," 29 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'city.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of city

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for city

Middle English citie large or small town, from Anglo-French cité, from Medieval Latin civitat-, civitas, from Latin, citizenship, state, city of Rome, from civis citizen — more at hind

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Statistics for city

Last Updated

2 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for city

The first known use of city was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for city



English Language Learners Definition of city

: a place where people live that is larger or more important than a town : an area where many people live and work
: the people in a city
: the government of a city


\ ˈsi-tē How to pronounce city (audio) \
plural cities

Kids Definition of city

1 : a place in which people live and work that is larger than a town
2 : the people of a city The whole city was excited about the football game.

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More from Merriam-Webster on city

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with city

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for city

Spanish Central: Translation of city

Nglish: Translation of city for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of city for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about city

Comments on city

What made you want to look up city? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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