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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Did You Know?

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 Normally this takes an hour and 40 minutes, moving across the greater Los Angeles/Orange County conurbation, but this trip... WSJ, "A Silver Lining in the Dark Covid-19 Cloud," 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, "‘Islamic Empires’ Review: Revisiting a Glorious Past," 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, "Why Southern California's Wildfires Are Inevitable," 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, "The unplanned journey that led Lagos to becoming an overwhelmed megacity," 5 Oct. 2019 For 13 seasons the Los Angeles area boasted two NFL teams, fitting for the nation’s second-largest conurbation., "A History of Football in 100 Objects," 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, "Welcome to the jungle: Indonesia picks site for new capital city," 26 Aug. 2019 Beyond these coastal conurbations, the outlook is dimmer. The Economist, "China is trying to turn itself into a country of 19 super-regions," 21 June 2018 This isn’t an entirely new thing; most German conurbations already have Umwelt (environmental) zones that bar cars incapable of passing the Euro 4 emissions test from entering them without risk of a sizable fine. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, "Alles Ist Verboten! German Court Says Cities Should Ban Diesel Engines," 27 Feb. 2018

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.

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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 27 Feb. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of conurbation

chiefly British : a large area consisting of cities or towns that have grown so that there is very little room between them

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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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