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.

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
Recent Examples on the Web Hughes opened in 1851, the second high school in the city, named for Thomas Hughes, who bequeathed land for a school fund in 1824. Jeff Suess, The Enquirer, 14 Aug. 2022 The heat wave, named Zoe, was recorded July 24-27 in the city of Seville, in southwestern Spain, said José María Martín Olalla, an associate professor in the department of condensed matter physics at Sevilla University. Saleen Martin, USA TODAY, 14 Aug. 2022 As of 2015, renters outnumbered homeowners in the city for the first time since 1950. Nushrat Rahman, Detroit Free Press, 13 Aug. 2022 Seven people have died from gun violence over the past six days in the city, four of them killed in less than four hours Thursday night and Friday morning. Carol Robinson |, al, 13 Aug. 2022 The Avon Lake Fire Department is offering residents, and those employed in the city, an opportunity to learn about fire department operations during a Citizens Fire Academy. cleveland, 13 Aug. 2022 Starukh added that the strike—which consisted of at least five long-range rockets— damaged civilian infrastructure in the city. Katya Soldak, Forbes, 13 Aug. 2022 There were 62 fatal crashes in the city in all of 2021. Steven Martinez, Journal Sentinel, 13 Aug. 2022 So far this year, police have shot and killed four people in the city. oregonlive, 13 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About city

Time Traveler for city

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near city




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for city

Last Updated

17 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“City.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on city

Nglish: Translation of city for Spanish Speakers

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


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!