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

Definition of cosmopolitan

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having wide international sophistication : worldly Greater cultural diversity has led to a more cosmopolitan attitude among the town's younger generations.
2 : composed of persons, constituents, or elements from all or many parts of the world a city with a cosmopolitan population
3 : 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
4 : found in most parts of the world and under varied ecological conditions a cosmopolitan herb



Definition of cosmopolitan (Entry 2 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

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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: Adjective

smart, sophisticated, worldly, worldly-wise

Synonyms: Noun

city slicker, cosmopolite, metropolitan, slicker, sophisticate

Antonyms: Adjective

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

Antonyms: Noun

bumpkin, hick, provincial, rustic, yokel

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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


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.


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

Its capital, Seoul, is a cosmopolitan city forging a new identity at every corner. Kristin Braswell, USA TODAY, "A K-beauty lover makes a pilgrimage to Seoul, the capital of skincare and K-Pop," 23 July 2019 The faculty is an equally cosmopolitan mix of Jordanians, American boarding school veterans, and teachers who have previously worked all over the world. Richard Mcgill Murphy, Town & Country, "Desert Prep," 17 Dec. 2012 The country has its advantages: extensive existing finance infrastructure and tax conditions that are favorable compared to some peers, along with good connections to other transit hubs, a cosmopolitan feel, and English-language schools. Fortune, "Tiny Luxembourg Is Having a Big Brexit Moment," 10 Aug. 2019 In addition, the test subjects may have subconsciously incorporated the cliché of dutiful older siblings and cosmopolitan later borns into their evaluation and could have thus brought about the expected result themselves. Corinna Hartmann, Scientific American, "Does Birth Order Affect Personality?," 8 Aug. 2019 Scholar Sarah Gerk has traced the influences on the Symphony’s form and technique: not only Dvorák, but also works by Camille Saint-Saëns and Johannes Brahms, placing the music within a cosmopolitan range of European tradition. Matthew Guerrieri,, "Irish themes, reimagined in music," 1 Aug. 2019 Essebsi appealed to Bourguiba’s legacy during his 2014 campaign, casting himself in the mold of a secularist reformer and casting his Islamist rivals as extremists out of step with Tunisia’s cosmopolitan character. Washington Post, "Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi dies at age 92," 25 July 2019 But that's all changing, as more people wise up to the fact that Jordan actually has it all: religious and historical attractions, otherworldly landscapes, and cosmopolitan sophistication. Andrew Solomon, Condé Nast Traveler, "Traveling Through Jordan’s Historic Ruins, Red Dunes, and Dead Sea," 24 July 2019 In June a firm based in the United Arab Emirates tried to open an alcohol-free nightclub in Jeddah, the most cosmopolitan Saudi city. The Economist, "Saudi Arabia weighs loosening more controls on women," 18 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But the greater ambition, Le Roux says, is to grow Orania into a small city that’s attractive to young cosmopolitans in Pretoria and Cape Town. Gregory Barber, WIRED, "Inside an All-White Town’s Divisive Experiment With Cryptocurrency," 6 June 2019 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

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


1798, in the meaning defined at sense 3


circa 1645, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cosmopolitan


see cosmopolite


see cosmopolite

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Statistics for cosmopolitan

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for cosmopolitan

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)

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



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

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

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Comments on cosmopolitan

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