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 The trees were the first in more than 50 years to be planted in San Francisco’s Japantown since the city’s redevelopment agency uprooted every tree in the area during the 1960s and 1970s, according to the cultural center. Vanessa Arredondo,, "Cherry blossom trees in S.F’s Japantown ripped bare by vandals," 7 Jan. 2021 The City Council has the final say on who represents the city on the board and is expected to vote on the committee’s nominees next week. Liz Hardaway,, "‘VIA is a lifeline’ — Council committee recommends three new members to San Antonio’s public transportation board," 7 Jan. 2021 One, there was a record-breaking heat wave that swept the city. Megan Ditrolio, Marie Claire, "The Best True Crime Documentaries of 2021," 6 Jan. 2021 The city randomly selected 125 residents making $46,033 per year or less and gave them a $500 monthly payment with no strings attached. Colette Shade, The New Republic, "Crying at Work Isn’t the Answer," 6 Jan. 2021 The apartment had five bedrooms, five full and one-half bathrooms, as well as a 1,900-square-foot terrace overlooking the city. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen's Sprawling Massachusetts Mansion and NYC Apartment Have Both Sold," 6 Jan. 2021 The city already extended outdoor dining on public sidewalks and parking lanes in October to help local businesses during the pandemic. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Hank Aaron, skeptic’s mea culpa, vaccine campouts: News from around our 50 states," 6 Jan. 2021 Staff members at the city’s four vaccination sites are trained to make sure patients are eligible for early immunization under local, state and federal guidelines, said Andrea Garcia, a spokeswoman for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Los Angeles Times, "L.A. officials allowed dozens without medical credentials to get COVID-19 vaccine early," 6 Jan. 2021 At least seven members of Hong Kong’s Democratic Party — the city’s largest opposition party — were arrested, including former party chairman Wu Chi-wai. NBC News, "Dozens of Hong Kong pro-democracy figures, including U.S. lawyer, arrested," 6 Jan. 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

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“City.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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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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