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 All other counts were dismissed, and the conviction was expunged in 2017, said Lauren Gold, spokeswoman for the city of Anaheim. Christal Hayes, USA TODAY, "Suspect in mass killing at Southern California business faces murder, other charges in 4 deaths," 3 Apr. 2021 Chicago had a single day with 18 homicides, the largest number for the city on record. Emma Tucker And Peter Nickeas, CNN, "The US saw significant crime rise across major cities in 2020. And it's not letting up," 3 Apr. 2021 Prior to working for the city, Hess was the highest-ranking woman in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, serving as executive assistant director of the FBI's Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville's public safety chief is leaving her role in May, Mayor Fischer says," 2 Apr. 2021 Service Director Jim Herron noted 2021 marks the third year for the city’s general pavement services program. Beth Mlady, cleveland, "Several Middleburg Heights roads slated for work this year," 2 Apr. 2021 Fifteen Detroit health inspectors, partnered with Detroit police, visited about 60 establishments on Thursday and issued citations at three of them, said Denise Fair, chief public health officer for the city, speaking in the late afternoon. Darcie Moran, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit health inspectors check restaurants for foul plays on Opening Day," 2 Apr. 2021 All other counts were dismissed, and the conviction was expunged in 2017, said Lauren Gold, spokeswoman for the city of Anaheim., "Police say gunman who killed four at California office knew all of the victims," 2 Apr. 2021 All other counts were dismissed, and the conviction was expunged in 2017, said Lauren Gold, spokeswoman for the city of Anaheim. Amy Taxin, Anchorage Daily News, "Man charged with 4 counts of murder in Southern California mass shooting," 2 Apr. 2021 Hong Kong’s film industry previously thrived, becoming a symbol of pride for the city and a point of distinction from mainland China. Washington Post, "‘Ten Years’ portrayed a dark vision of Hong Kong. Life imitated art in barely half that time.," 2 Apr. 2021

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

7 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“City.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

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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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Comments on city

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