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.

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

For decades, Israel depended on Russia and other sources for fuel, while its industries and homes relied on coal and oil power plants that blanketed its cities with smog. Clifford Krauss, New York Times, "Israel’s Energy Dilemma: More Natural Gas Than It Can Use or Export," 5 July 2019 Reuters/Stringer Shanghai’s residents are reeling from the mandatory trash-sorting rules their city just adopted as China works toward beefing up its recycling rates. Echo Huang, Quartz, "“What kind of rubbish are you?”: China’s first serious trash-sorting rule is driving Shanghai crazy," 5 July 2019 One wanted to help Texans 65 and older, their surviving spouses and disabled people with an across-the-board tax freeze, not just school taxes, but city, county, hospital and college districts, too. Dallas News, "This is how Texas lawmakers avoided true property tax reform and instead gave us fluff and stuff," 5 July 2019 At 20, Dyer was a bright-eyed NYU sophomore just starting to explore her love of language, art, and her dream city when she was tapped by Netflix for a top-secret new project and shipped to Atlanta for half the year to film. Ariana Romero,, "Stranger Things Star Natalia Dyer On The Upside-Down Of Fame," 4 July 2019 This is a disgrace to Islamic world indeed,God will protect his city from evils. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Nicki Minaj’s Saudi Arabia concert confuses, angers fans and others: ‘No one in Saudi Arabia googled Nicki Minaj did they?’," 3 July 2019 If the young are pointlessly killing themselves for their city, what more is there to be done? Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker, "The Disillusion and Frustration of a New Generation is Fuelling Hong Kong’s Protests," 3 July 2019 This deal is expected to bring more than 500 jobs and significant investment to our city. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Like it or not, Nike's 'Betsy Ross' controversy shows politics in sports here to stay," 3 July 2019 This deal is expected to bring more than 500 jobs and significant investment to our city. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "Arizona city will still pay Nike millions to help open plant there," 3 July 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about city

Statistics for city

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for city

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on city

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with city

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

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).


characterized by aphorism

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!