noun, often attributive
\ ˈsi-tē \
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 a country that is among the world’s top consumers of sugary drinks, Chiapas is a champion: Residents of San Cristóbal and the lush highlands that envelop the city drink on average more than half a gallon of soda a day. Oscar Lopez,, "In Mexican town, Coca-Cola is everywhere, and so is diabetes," 14 July 2018 But in 2013, his campaign treasurer and a fund-raiser were convicted in a straw-donor scheme that allowed other backers of Mr. Liu to donate more than the maximum contribution allowed by city law. New York Times, "John Liu Plots a Comeback Trail, Targeting a Renegade Democrat," 13 July 2018 A few months ago, downtown Orlando building manager Ray Jordan witnessed a man who appeared to be homeless get off a city bus, drop his pants and defecate in public. Kate Santich,, "Downtown Orlando needs full-time drop-in center for homeless, leaders say," 13 July 2018 The proposed pay standard would incentivize companies to better utilize drivers and their vehicles, which would raise their hourly earnings and limit the number of cars on crowded city streets. WSJ, "A Wage Hike for Drivers Wouldn’t Sink Ride Services," 13 July 2018 These business leaders are the same people that city reps need to bankroll the campaign against the fire union’s charter amendments. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "Paid sick leave issue is complicated for council," 13 July 2018 The city’s grant writer, Jane Sullivan, will again serve as a guest speaker and mentor for the second session. Dan White,, "Lauderhill grant writing seminar aims to education community organizations," 13 July 2018 The Toters are city property, the ordinance states. David Anderson, The Aegis, "Aberdeen council adopts new trash pickup ordinance," 12 July 2018 Messages left for the city attorney's spokeswoman for a response to Avenatti's allegations weren't immediately returned. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Stormy Daniels' charges dropped; arrest part of "sting operation," lawyer says," 12 July 2018

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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Statistics for city

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for city

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

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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 city : the government of a city


\ ˈsi-tē \
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

What made you want to look up city? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


alleviating pain or harshness

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