me·​trop·​o·​lis | \ mə-ˈträ-p(ə-)ləs How to pronounce metropolis (audio) \

Definition of metropolis

1 : the chief or capital city of a country, state, or region
2 : the city or state of origin of a colony (as of ancient Greece)
3a : a city regarded as a center of a specified activity an industrial metropolis a cattle metropolis
b : a large important city one of Europe's great metropolises

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of metropolis in a Sentence

a big, teeming metropolis where ambitious people from all over come to make their mark

Recent Examples on the Web

The most populated metropolis on Earth earns a score of 92.0 out of a possible 100. Wire Service, The Mercury News, "World’s safest city to visit in 2019 revealed by Economist Intelligence Unit," 29 Aug. 2019 Now, a similar phenomenon is taking place across the pond—only this time, the insects in question are grasshoppers, and their target is the bustling metropolis of Las Vegas. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Swarms of Grasshoppers Invading Las Vegas Are Visible on Radar," 27 July 2019 Today, some 14 miles of thick jungle separate El Zotz from Tikal’s metropolis. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, "The Lost World of the Maya is Finally Emerging From the Jungle," 7 Feb. 2019 The largest city in Brazil was plunged into darkness in the middle of the day on Monday after billowing smoke from ongoing wildfires in the Amazon region combined with a weather pattern, creating an ominous, dark blanket over the metropolis. Fox News, "Smoke from Amazon wildfires plunges Sao Paulo into darkness in middle of day," 22 Aug. 2019 The risk is that one of America’s great metropolises enters a death spiral, as Detroit had by the 1990s. The Economist, "How to fix Baltimore," 1 Aug. 2019 In addition to being a metropolis of nearly 2 million people where Ebola may spread quickly and be difficult to trace, Goma has an international airport. Meredith Wadman, Science | AAAS, "World Health Organization declares Ebola outbreak an international emergency," 17 July 2019 Day 1: Mosaics and metro stations 9 a.m. Navigate the labyrinth of the Moscow metro, a living, breathing work of art crisscrossing the metropolis. Aanchal Anand, National Geographic, "Russian secrets? Here’s the ultimate Moscow itinerary," 16 July 2019 That wild, freewheeling town had to make way for the modern metropolis. Rich Cohen, WSJ, "The Hidden History of Liberty Island," 11 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'metropolis.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of metropolis

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for metropolis

Middle English, from Late Latin, from Greek mētropolis, from mētr-, mētēr mother + polis city — more at mother, police entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about metropolis

Statistics for metropolis

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for metropolis

The first known use of metropolis was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for metropolis



English Language Learners Definition of metropolis

: a very large or important city


me·​trop·​o·​lis | \ mə-ˈträ-pə-ləs How to pronounce metropolis (audio) \

Kids Definition of metropolis

1 : the chief or capital city of a country, state, or region
2 : a large or important city

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on metropolis

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


authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!