meg·​a·​lop·​o·​lis ˌme-gə-ˈlä-pə-ləs How to pronounce megalopolis (audio)
: a very large city
: a thickly populated region centering in a metropolis or embracing several metropolises
megalopolitan 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 The integration of cutting-edge technology with the daily physical world arguably makes perfect sense, given how China’s population is increasingly centered on a chain of megalopolises and urbanized regions. Brian Bremner,, 27 Oct. 2021 The prevalence of remote work has led many real estate developers in megalopolises like New York City, where office vacancy rates are at all-time highs, to retool their buildings. Phil Wahba, Fortune, 21 Apr. 2023 California is a modern megalopolis of a state with all the same problems and promises as any other. Los Angeles Times, 9 Nov. 2022 Many of the volcanoes in Japan are busy tourist destinations, especially those volcanoes close to the megalopolis of Tokyo. Erik Klemetti, Discover Magazine, 6 May 2015 This was Rome, a megalopolis where glittering avenues, monuments and arches littered the landscape. Tony Perrottet, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 Jan. 2023 Malibu, California has long been known as the playground of the rich and famous, a coastal tendril of the 18 million person greater Los Angeles megalopolis. Jeffrey Marlow, Discover Magazine, 29 June 2016 Protecting downtown and the city’s infrastructure from floods, the channel made possible the emergence of Los Angeles as a great, global megalopolis of booming businesses and single-family houses with green lawns and swimming pools. Michael Kimmelman, New York Times, 10 Nov. 2022 Earlier Sunday, DeSantis appeared before a crowd that a campaign representative estimated at about 3,000 people at the Villages, the retirement megalopolis in central Florida. Anthony Man, Sun Sentinel, 16 Oct. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'megalopolis.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1828, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of megalopolis was circa 1828

Dictionary Entries Near megalopolis

Cite this Entry

“Megalopolis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


meg·​a·​lop·​o·​lis ˌmeg-ə-ˈläp-ə-ləs How to pronounce megalopolis (audio)
: a very large city
: a thickly populated region centering in a large city or including several large cities

More from Merriam-Webster on megalopolis

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