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 has fought against tightening the caps on the grounds that revenues fluctuate wildly under different economic conditions and the years of big revenue growth are needed to compensate for slow periods when revenues drop. Gilbert Garcia,, "Legislative session provided San Antonio some big wins," 7 June 2019 One of the busiest streets in Wisconsin’s largest city will turn into an outdoor art gallery when Sculpture Milwaukee makes its official debut Friday. Lori Rackl,, "Bigger than ever, Sculpture Milwaukee unveils this summer's 20-plus pieces of public art," 7 June 2019 New Britain police are searching for a vandal or vandals who defaced the city’s Borinqueneers Monument on Thursday evening and the New Britain Latino Coalition has launched a fundraising campaign to make repairs. Zach Murdock,, "Borinqueneers Monument vandalized in New Britain, GoFundMe created to make repairs," 7 June 2019 And would Les Bleues be able to drum up more attention in a city that was surprisingly lacking in visible evidence that a Women's World Cup was about to start? Grant Wahl,, "France's Opening Statement Impossible to Ignore at Women's World Cup," 7 June 2019 What does that kind of starchitecture cluster mean for a person experiencing the city? Julia Wick,, "Essential California: A new face for the La Brea Tar Pits on a changing Wilshire Boulevard," 7 June 2019 Importantly, the companies are based in cities with strong protections for union organizing. Paul Farhi, Washington Post, "Vox Media employees walk off the job in day-long effort to win new union contract," 7 June 2019 And second, American sports owners know that if one city provides underwhelming profitability, there are always a dozen other metropolitan areas that are potentially willing to build you a new stadium. Mark Goodman, The Denver Post, "Backpass: Wins are fixing the Rapids’ serious attendance problem in Commerce City," 7 June 2019 And anyone is welcome at Big Momma's or any of the city's other soul food restaurants. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "Sunday dinners at Louisville's black-owned restaurants 'keep that culture going'," 7 June 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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Statistics for city

Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

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 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

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

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