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

The signs were quickly replaced with signs containing the same sentiment — but sized in accordance with city signage rules — and the Elgin woman continued her activist lifestyle until days before her death, according to friends and family. Janelle Walker, Elgin Courier-News, "Myra Becker, social activist noted for her 'Impeach Trump' yard sign in Elgin, dies at 94," 11 July 2018 Although a city ordinance was enacted in 1971 to forbid idling for more than three minutes, it’s rarely enforced, which spurred Pakenham to take matters into his own hands. Elizabeth Royte, Daily Intelligencer, "George Pakenham is waging a one-man war on air pollution on the Upper West Side.," 10 July 2018 Under city law, children 13 and under must be inside from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., while children ages 14 to 16 have an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew. Jesse Leavenworth, Courant Community, "Manchester Residents Rail Against Proposed Curfew," 10 July 2018 Any local kids/college players in the Quad cities area that are interested in caddying in the tournament this week, this thread is for you. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "Pro golfer recruits a Twitter follower to caddie for him in upcoming PGA event," 10 July 2018 At first, he and his son were placed together in detention at a center in McAllen, a city in Texas near the border with Mexico that has a large facility housing separated immigrant children. Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, "Immigrant dad separated from son in Michigan: 'A pain in my heart'," 14 July 2018 Ortega's government has ultimately wrested back control of this campus - as well as other rebellious cities across Nicaragua - but the cost to his government could be steep. Joshua Partlow,, "Inside the church where Nicaraguan paramilitaries laid siege on university students," 14 July 2018 But on the Eastern coast, just ninety minutes north of Edinburgh, the small seaside city of Dundee makes a compelling case for a one- or two-night addition to your Scottish itinerary. Todd Plummer, Vogue, "A Guide to Dundee, Scotland—the First City Outside London to Get Its Very Own V&A Museum," 14 July 2018 In this case, a Windows Server system that was affiliated with a city in the U.S. The sale price with administrator rights: $10. Brooke Crothers, Fox News, "Access to airport security systems are being sold by hackers for as little as $10," 13 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

11 Nov 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).


noxious or harmful

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