cos·​mo·​pol·​i·​tan | \ˌkäz-mə-ˈpä-lə-tən \

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 \ : 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 \ 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

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 All that was missing were the clinking cosmopolitans. Alex Williams, New York Times, "Sarah Jessica Parker, Molly Shannon and Jerry Seinfeld at HBO’s Premiere of ‘Divorce’," 5 Oct. 2016

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The Saudi women, many watching a soccer game on foreign soil for the first time, mingled with people in a genuinely cosmopolitan and care-free atmosphere outside the stadium. Washington Post, "Saudi women in Russia to support team, reinforce new image," 14 June 2018 Less than a hundred years ago, there were vibrant Jewish communities in Baghdad and Isfahan, Bukhara, Aden and Fez, cosmopolitan economic hubs where Jews lived alongside Muslims and Christians, Armenians, Berbers and Kurds. Michael David Lukas, New York Times, "From Cairo to Kolkata, Traces of a Vibrant Jewish Past," 8 June 2018 Because what Howards End understands is that the philosophical differences of the liberal cosmopolitan class and conservative bourgeoisie don’t ultimately matter to the lives of the poor. Constance Grady, Vox, "Howards End is a strangely timely adaptation of E.M. Forster’s “picture of liberal guilt”," 15 Apr. 2018 There were two kinds of drinks and two places to have them before Lermayer came to South Florida in 2004 in his 30s: a simple cocktail like a cosmopolitan at a nightclub or hard liquor or beer at a dive bar. Carlos Frías, miamiherald, "The man who sparked Miami's mixology movement is found dead," 7 June 2018 Imai and Pantel have also introduced foreign influences in a city that is decidedly less cosmopolitan than Tokyo, where international cuisines flourish. Tom Downey, WSJ, "Explore Kyoto With the Chefs Who Are Turning Culinary Tradition on Its Head," 28 May 2018 The downtown restaurant offers small plates with a Mediterranean twist, all served up in a monochrome, minimalist setting that feels more cosmopolitan than shoreside. Bridget Hallinan, Condé Nast Traveler, "Your Next Weekend Trip from NYC Should Be to Asbury Park, New Jersey," 25 May 2018 The EcoSport’s small and tall aspect suit its original market in South America, but is not as cosmopolitan in subsequent rollouts in Europe and Asia for model year 2013. Robert Duffer,, "2018 Ford EcoSport is too little, too late," 3 Apr. 2018 Probably the most cosmopolitan way to quadruple-team your cholesterol count. Steve Rosenbloom,, "Does ESPN’s Chauncey Billups know how much he pantsed the Bulls?," 22 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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Comments on cosmopolitan

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


playful or foolish behavior

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