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 In 1809, work was completed on his plans for a U.S. customhouse in the city. Mike Scott,, "Thomas Jefferson's grand plan for a Gulf Coast lighthouse survived after an initial dark period," 17 Nov. 2020 Tomorrow night: Mostly clear, probably our coldest night, with lows in the 20s in the suburbs to the low 30s in the city. Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Breezy and turning colder before temperatures rebound late in the week," 17 Nov. 2020 Nonfatal shootings such as the one that occurred Tuesday morning have also impacted hundreds in the city, with 529 such cases reported as of Sunday. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "3-year-old shot early Tuesday morning is Louisville's latest young shooting victim," 17 Nov. 2020 According to Turner, the COVID-19 positivity rate in the city is up almost 3 percent. Shelby Stewart, Chron, "Mayor Turner urges Houstonians not to invite COVID into your home this Thanksgiving," 17 Nov. 2020 The ordinance will apply to more than 54,000 homes and 32 million square feet of commercial space in the city’s development pipeline. Taylor Kate Brown,, "MicroClimates: An S.F. neighborhood has one of the nation’s lowest carbon footprints. It has almost nothing to do with residents’ choices," 17 Nov. 2020 New York City public schools will remain open until the coronavirus infection rate in the city reaches 3%, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. Jessica Flores, USA TODAY, "Coronavirus updates: Hawaii 'clarifies' statewide mask mandate; Alaska loses over 3,000 gas and oil jobs amid pandemic; 247K US deaths," 17 Nov. 2020 Minneapolis homicides have increased to rates not seen in the city since the 1990s. Emma Colton, Washington Examiner, "Minneapolis homicides and shootings up 64% compared to last four years," 16 Nov. 2020 Police said thieves have stolen nearly 1,000 firearms from vehicles in the city in 2020, the station reported. Robert Gearty, Fox News, "Residents tell Atlanta police rise in crime makes them sick and tired," 16 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for city

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for city

Last Updated

20 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“City.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for city


How to pronounce city (audio)

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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Comments on city

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