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 While many parks in the city have cancelled celebrations this year, some are still pending. Sahi Padmanabhan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4 June 2021 Stallworth said the station is the only one in the city. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, 4 June 2021 Adams has campaigned on public safety messages while also focusing on the inequality in the city. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, 3 June 2021 The oldest existing brushes in Japan (housed in the city’s Shoso-in repository at Todaiji temple) date to that period. New York Times, 3 June 2021 The restaurant, Contessa, will open at the newest luxury hotel in the city, The Newbury Boston. J.q. Louise, Forbes, 3 June 2021 The guests would hover outside the front gate, their smiles cloaked by masks, and set down bags filled with homemade dinners, gifts and groceries, sandwiches from a favorite Italian deli in the city. Washington Post, 3 June 2021 Lightfoot and Arwady cited that coronavirus metrics in the city are the lowest since the pandemic began. Dan Petrella,, 3 June 2021 Since launching the program, the brewery has also hosted two live panel conversations with women working in the city’s craft beer industry. al, 3 June 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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Learn More about city

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

6 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“City.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 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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