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 city will lease the space for roughly $6.8 million over five years. Talia Richman,, "Baltimore Police Academy expected to relocate to University of Baltimore," 17 Sep. 2019 With peanuts and Crackerjacks, only apple pie was missing from the collection of Americana at the stadium in the heart of the city where the Founding Fathers debated and signed the Declaration of Independence. Clare Hymes, CBS News, "15 new Americans sworn in as citizens before the first pitch at Phillies-Red Sox game," 17 Sep. 2019 His obsession is reimagining what cities will look like, an important task given how increasingly urban the world is becoming. Adam Lashinsky, Fortune, "Why Cities Need to De-Emphasize Cars and Turn Streets Into Parks—Data Sheet," 17 Sep. 2019 The New York Police Department spent a decade working with CIA officials to illegally monitor the city’s Muslim residents, tracking their whereabouts and recording their activities en masse without justification. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The NRA Is Not a Domestic Terrorist Organization," 17 Sep. 2019 Hamilton, the bustling city, is filled with a mix of historic British occupation and modern U.S. influences. Kelly Vaughan,, "Bermuda i n 72 hours: Yes, really," 17 Sep. 2019 Your Scooter Mileage May Vary When rental scooters descended upon L.A.’s Westside, cities there began trying to rein them in. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: From ‘locked and loaded’ to ‘no rush’," 17 Sep. 2019 Giant murals have been painted all over the city, showcasing his poems. New York Times, "A Rebel French Poet Draws New Followers to the Hometown He Hated," 16 Sep. 2019 The loss of revenue from cancellations was so dire that the tourism agency Visit Orlando sent out marketing material on its social media channels reminding tourists that the city’s major attractions remained open. Marco Santana,, "Hurricane Dorian prompts 40% drop in Orlando hotel stays," 16 Sep. 2019

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

Cite this Entry

“City.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on city

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for city

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with city

Spanish Central: Translation of city

Nglish: Translation of city for Spanish Speakers

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

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