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 megalopolis (audio) \ noun or adjective

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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 How to squeeze the world’s population into one, super-dense megalopolis in order to regenerate the globe’s natural resources? Los Angeles Times, "Science-themed ‘Pacific Standard Time’ for 2024 takes shape with Getty art grants," 27 Jan. 2021 The presidential announcement came a day after health authorities warned about a sharp rise in the number of Covid-19-related hospitalizations, notably in Istanbul, a megalopolis of 16 million. Scott Mccartney, WSJ, "Coronavirus Live Updates: U.S. Cases Continue to Climb as States Restrict Activity," 18 Nov. 2020 Although Shanghai has a reputation as a futuristic megalopolis, the allure of this city — the largest in China, with a population of more than 25 million — is the dichotomy of the old and the new. John Wogan, Travel + Leisure, "The Top Hotels in Shanghai," 8 July 2020 Because so few cars are on the road, few factories belching out black smoke and almost no active construction sites to create clouds of choking dust, pollution levels in New Delhi, India’s megalopolis capital, have dropped to remarkably low levels. New York Times, "India Savors a Rare Upside to Coronavirus: Clean Air," 4 Apr. 2020 Shanghai, Beijing and several Chinese provinces ordered businesses to remain shut through Sunday, leaving the nation’s great megalopolises feeling like ghost towns. Fox News, "Coronavirus outbreak fuels medical supply shortage in China, as more than 37,500 infected globally," 9 Feb. 2020 But their impact is felt most keenly in greater Cairo, where a sprawling megalopolis of about 20 million inhabitants is spilling into the surrounding desert and farmland. Declan Walsh, New York Times, "As Egypt’s Population Hits 100 Million, Celebration Is Muted," 11 Feb. 2020 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

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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The first known use of megalopolis was circa 1828

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Last Updated

9 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Megalopolis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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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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