meg·​a·​lop·​o·​lis | \ ˌme-gə-ˈlä-pə-ləs How to pronounce megalopolis (audio) \

Definition of megalopolis

1 : a very large city
2 : a thickly populated region centering in a metropolis or embracing several metropolises

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Other Words from megalopolis

megalopolitan \ ˌme-​gə-​lō-​ˈpä-​lə-​tən How to pronounce megalopolitan (audio) \ noun or adjective

Did You Know?

A "large city" named Megalopolis was founded in Greece in 371 B.C. to help defend the region called Arcadia against the city-state of Sparta. Though a stadium seating 20,000 was built there, indicating the city's impressive size for its time, Megalopolis today has only about 5,000 people. Social scientists now identify 10 megalopolises in the U.S., each with more than 10 million people. The one on the eastern seaboard that stretches from Boston to Washington, D.C., where the densely populated cities seem to flow into each other all along the coast, is now home to over 50 million people. But it's easily surpassed by the Japanese megalopolis that includes Tokyo, with more than 80 million inhabitants.

Examples of megalopolis in a Sentence

what was once a series of discrete towns interspersed with countryside is now one vast megalopolis
Recent Examples on the Web The private sector and financial center will remain in metropolitan Jakarta, a megalopolis teeming with 30 million people. Andy Mukherjee | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "A Capital City in the Jungle? It’s Not a Crazy Idea," 19 Aug. 2019 Also, a good many of us have made a tentative peace with what these collapsologues seem to see as our irredeemably damaged existence in the modern megalopolis, fractured irreparably between our public and private selves. Harrison Stetler, The New York Review of Books, "‘Collapsologie’: Constructing an Idea of How Things Fall Apart," 21 Jan. 2020 Now this animal hospital in a small city has more than 15,000, and its Instagram account has 42,000 - three times as many as Cedars-Sinai, a large human hospital in the megalopolis of Los Angeles. Karin Brulliard,, "Cinder-Block is the reluctant poster cat for a pet obesity epidemic, vets say," 1 Nov. 2019 The look was Shinjuku and the feel was Mike Davis’ City of Quartz, a megalopolis dominated by Haves tricking Have-Nots into shooting each other. Wired, "Los Angeles, Blade Runner, and the Theory of Relativity," 1 Nov. 2019 This week, the ski resort megalopolis welcomed Peak Resorts into its family. Andrea Sachs, The Know, "For East Coast skiers, Vail Resorts is a boon," 1 Oct. 2019 The menace might thus be diverted from, say, a megalopolis, or made to miss Earth altogether. The Editors, Scientific American, "Readers Respond to "Is Time an Illusion?" and Other Articles," 1 Oct. 2010 Complexity and variability in the messy megalopolises of emerging markets (because of the lack of formal addresses, say, and standstill traffic) spur innovation. The Economist, "DistributionAmazon and Alibaba are pacesetters of the next supply-chain revolution," 12 July 2019 The coastal megalopolis continues to pump too much water from its aquifers, causing the land to collapse by almost a foot a year in some places. Lydia Horne, WIRED, "The App Creeping on Your IG Location, Jakarta’s Insurance Crisis, and More News," 19 July 2019

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

circa 1828, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for megalopolis

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The first known use of megalopolis was circa 1828

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Last Updated

7 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Megalopolis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce megalopolis (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of megalopolis

: a very large city
: an area that includes a large city or several large cities

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