con·​ur·​ba·​tion | \ ˌkä-(ˌ)nər-ˈbā-shən How to pronounce conurbation (audio) \

Definition of conurbation

: an aggregation or continuous network of urban communities

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When Sir Patrick Geddes, a Scottish biologist turned sociologist, sat down in 1915 to write Cities in Evolution, a work on urban planning, he needed a word. How should he refer to thickly populated regions consisting of a sprawling range of cities clustered together? "Some name, then, for these city-regions, these town aggregates, is wanted…. What of 'conurbations'?" he asked rhetorically early on in his work. For his coinage, Geddes combined urbs (the Latin word for "city," already familiar in urban and suburb) with the Latin prefix con- ("together") and the English noun suffix -ation. It turned out that his word suited English speakers just fine-we've been using it ever since.

Examples of conurbation in a Sentence

a conurbation of cities along the river
Recent Examples on the Web L’Asile, a conurbation of 52,000 people living mostly in rural communities, was founded in the 1930s. Washington Post, 21 Aug. 2021 Normally this takes an hour and 40 minutes, moving across the greater Los Angeles/Orange County conurbation, but this trip... WSJ, 24 Mar. 2020 Dubai, a remarkable city-emirate grown rich on the foresight of its rulers and the wits of its inhabitants—both native and immigrant—is much the more complex of the two modern conurbations. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, 31 Jan. 2020 The Los Angeles Basin is framed by the Tehachapi and San Gabriel mountain ranges, which border the urban conurbation to its north and east, the directions the winds are coming from. Wes Siler, Outside Online, 23 Oct. 2019 Proximity of the two capitals – federal and state, respectively—in the Ikoyi and Ikeja neighborhoods of the same conurbation, put more pressure on the city. Ndubisi Onwuanyi, Quartz Africa, 5 Oct. 2019 For 13 seasons the Los Angeles area boasted two NFL teams, fitting for the nation’s second-largest conurbation., 28 Aug. 2019 Rapid growth has pushed the Jakarta metropolitan region’s population to some 30 million, creating a conurbation that is highly congested and polluted. Washington Post, 26 Aug. 2019 Beyond these coastal conurbations, the outlook is dimmer. The Economist, 21 June 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'conurbation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of conurbation

1915, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for conurbation

com- + Latin urb-, urbs city

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The first known use of conurbation was in 1915

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Cite this Entry

“Conurbation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for conurbation

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


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