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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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 In Montana, 20 miles or so off Highway 90, lies the minuscule conurbation of Wilsall, population 178 as of 2010. Adam Rutherford, The Atlantic, "A New History of the First Peoples in the Americas," 3 Oct. 2017 The Phoenix-Scottsdale-Tempe conurbation photographed from the International Space Station in 2006. Brandon Keim, WIRED, "Environmental Gap Widens in Phoenix," 1 Dec. 2011

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.

See More

First Known Use of conurbation

1915, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for conurbation

com- + Latin urb-, urbs city

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about conurbation

Listen to Our Podcast about conurbation

Dictionary Entries near conurbation








Statistics for conurbation

Last Updated

6 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for conurbation

The first known use of conurbation was in 1915

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for conurbation



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

More from Merriam-Webster on conurbation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with conurbation

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

Comments on conurbation

What made you want to look up conurbation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


readily or continually undergoing change

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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!