cos·​mo·​pol·​i·​tan | \ ˌkäz-mə-ˈpä-lə-tən How to pronounce cosmopolitan (audio) \

Definition of cosmopolitan

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : cosmopolite Many cosmopolitans around the world now also share the English language …— Robert J. Shiller
2 or less commonly cosmo \ ˈkäz-​(ˌ)mō How to pronounce cosmo (audio) \ : a cocktail made of vodka, orange-flavored liqueur, lime juice, and cranberry juice



Definition of cosmopolitan (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : having worldwide rather than limited or provincial scope or bearing … his cosmopolitan benevolence, impartially extended to all races and to all creeds.— Thomas Babington Macaulay
2 : having wide international sophistication : worldly Greater cultural diversity has led to a more cosmopolitan attitude among the town's younger generations.
3 : composed of persons, constituents, or elements from all or many parts of the world a city with a cosmopolitan population
4 : found in most parts of the world and under varied ecological conditions a cosmopolitan herb

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Other Words from cosmopolitan


cosmopolitanism \ ˌkäz-​mə-​ˈpä-​lə-​tə-​ˌni-​zəm How to pronounce cosmopolitanism (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for cosmopolitan

Synonyms: Noun

city slicker, cosmopolite, metropolitan, slicker, sophisticate

Synonyms: Adjective

smart, sophisticated, worldly, worldly-wise

Antonyms: Noun

bumpkin, hick, provincial, rustic, yokel

Antonyms: Adjective

guileless, ingenuous, innocent, naive (or naïve), unsophisticated, untutored, unworldly, wide-eyed

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Defining Cosmopolitan (Not the Drink)

Since cosmopolitan includes the root polit-, from the Greek word for "citizen", someone who is cosmopolitan is a "citizen of the world". She may be able to read the morning paper in Rio de Janeiro, attend a lecture in Madrid, and assist at a refugee camp in Uganda with equal ease—and maybe all in the same week. And a city or a country that is cosmopolitan has aspects and elements that come from various countries.

Examples of cosmopolitan in a Sentence


as someone who had lived in Paris for a year as an exchange student, she seemed very much the cosmopolitan to her old classmates


Greater cultural diversity has led to a more cosmopolitan attitude among the town's younger generations. the cosmopolitan taste of the store's customers It's one of the country's more cosmopolitan cities.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Their ideology is shaped by being lone nationalists among cosmopolitans. Dara Lind, Vox, "Trumpism doesn’t win majorities. And Trump doesn’t care.," 7 Nov. 2018 The Camondos were true cosmopolitans, at home everywhere equally but nowhere entirely. James Mcauley, Town & Country, "A Secret Paris Museum and an Aristocratic Family Decimated by the Holocaust," 9 Feb. 2017 European cosmopolitans, particularly those in Germany and around Scandinavia, took the top slots, and Australia and New Zealand snagged a few spots as well. Alyssa Pereira, ELLE Decor, "San Francisco Dubbed Best American City For High Quality Of Life," 1 Mar. 2016 At the opposite end of the political spectrum from the AfD are the Greens, the party of cosmopolitans. The Economist, "Between open and closedGerman politics has become much more complicated," 12 Apr. 2018 None of this is very unique to people in MBA programs, rather the norm for any group of young cosmopolitans in 2018. John Benjamin, The New Republic, "Business Class," 14 May 2018 Steve Bannon is delivering a wake-up call to the rootless cosmopolitans of the Trump administration: The forgotten men and women of the Saudi royal family must be forgotten no longer. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Bannon Speaks Out For the Forgotten People of the Saudi Royal Family," 24 Oct. 2017 The people buried in them are generally thought to be cosmopolitans. Michael Price, Science | AAAS, "Once this Viking warrior was revealed to be a woman, some began to question her battle bona fides," 14 Sep. 2017 Xi Jinping will be an awkward fit around the cosmopolitans who gather annually at the Swiss Alpine resort. Andrew Browne, WSJ, "Xi Jinping in Davos, Making the Most of a Waning Era," 16 Jan. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The city formerly known as Bombay has always been one of India’s most cosmopolitan and diverse. Corinne Abrams, WSJ, "‘You Have to Actually Cut Open Mumbai’s Belly’—Inside One of the World’s Most Audacious Transit Projects," 6 Jan. 2019 Saudi guardianship laws are generally unpopular in more cosmopolitan Saudi cities such as Riyadh and the Red Sea port of Jeddah. Michael Amon, WSJ, "Saudi Woman’s Asylum Plea Jumpstarts Opposition to Restrictive Law," 11 Jan. 2019 Luigia This pizzeria has a cosmopolitan yet low-key atmosphere. Kelly Dinardo, WSJ, "Geneva Beyond the Cliché," 12 Dec. 2018 In that way, Kansas City figures as the center of a cosmopolitan compass; looking in all directions but fixedly, complexly itself. Marley Marius, Vogue, "A Guide to Kansas City, Missouri: Its History, Its Culture, and Why It’s Worth a Closer Look," 23 Nov. 2018 Florence, Italy Though Rome is Italy’s much beloved capital and Milan has serious cosmopolitan clout, Florence remains unrivaled in history, art, and architecture (its beauty and cuisine don’t hurt, either). Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Cities in the World: 2018 Readers' Choice Awards," 9 Oct. 2018 Khan, a cosmopolitan former cricket star who ran on a populist platform of combatting corruption, is the latest leader to give in. Fox News, "Pakistan's Ahmadis fearful as leaders bow to extremists," 28 Sep. 2018 But signs point to long-term problems for the non-oil economic model that created the Middle East’s most cosmopolitan city. Nicolas Parasie, WSJ, "‘White-Collar Recession’ Ripples Through Dubai’s Economy," 14 Nov. 2018 This most cosmopolitan of directors lived in the shadow of statelessness. Geoffrey O’brien, WSJ, "‘How Did Lubitsch Do It?’ Review: Master of the Humane Comedy," 21 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cosmopolitan.' 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 cosmopolitan


circa 1645, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1798, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cosmopolitan


see cosmopolite


see cosmopolite

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The first known use of cosmopolitan was circa 1645

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More Definitions for cosmopolitan



English Language Learners Definition of cosmopolitan

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who has lived in and knows about many different parts of the world



English Language Learners Definition of cosmopolitan (Entry 2 of 2)

: showing an interest in different cultures, ideas, etc.
: having people from many different parts of the world

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