suburb

noun
sub·​urb | \ ˈsə-ˌbərb \

Definition of suburb

1a : an outlying part of a city or town
b : a smaller community adjacent to or within commuting distance of a city
c suburbs plural : the residential area on the outskirts of a city or large town
2 suburbs plural : the near vicinity : environs

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from suburb

suburban \ sə-​ˈbər-​bən \ adjective or noun
suburbanite \ sə-​ˈbər-​bə-​ˌnīt \ noun

The Suburbs vs. the Urbs

Given that most of the common words in our language beginning sub- tend to have meanings concerned with “beneath” (as in subterranean and submarine) or “less than” (as with subpar), you would be forgiven for assuming that the suburbs were so named because of their location below, or their status as less than, their urban counterparts. Not so, however: sub- may have other meanings at the beginning of a word; in this case, it indicates not depth or inferiority, but proximity. In other words, the suburbs are a region close to the urbs.

Is urbs an English word? Yes; it is rarely used, but it refers typically to a city, particularly when distinguished from a suburb.

Examples of suburb in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The cast and crew actually stayed about 20 minutes away in a suburb of Salt Lake City and were at the tail end of two-plus weeks of production. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "Here’s What It’s Really Like on the Set of a Hallmark Christmas Movie," 22 Dec. 2018 The nail-biter playing out in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District got even closer Wednesday after 588 uncounted votes were found in a suburb of Columbus, according to county officials. Edmund Demarche, Fox News, "Hotly contested Ohio race gets closer after hundreds of uncounted votes are found," 2 Oct. 2018 People out in the countryside will be able to see upward of one meteor per minute; per NASA, those in the suburbs will see more like 30 to 40 per hour, and people in the city unfortunately won't be able to see much at all. Eleanor Hildebrandt, Popular Mechanics, "How to Watch the December 2018 Geminid Meteor Shower," 10 Dec. 2018 As a result, large residential developments in the suburbs filled up with homes that were relatively quick and cheap to build. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "This Is Why Millennials Love Mid-Century Modern Homes So Much," 7 Dec. 2018 Roncal's vivacious energy and joy for life comes through not only in her makeup, but also in her gorgeous home tucked away in the suburbs of Pennsylvania. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Mally Roncal's Beauty Stash is the Stuff of Dreams," 15 Nov. 2018 Puckett and other officials from the northern suburbs opposed the bond campaign. Ann Doss Helms, charlotteobserver, "Quiet agitator at CMS prepares to rattle some cages in his second year," 12 July 2018 Kentucky was the first state to get permission to impose new rules, which were scheduled to take effect Sunday in a northern Kentucky suburb of Cincinnati. NBC News, "Nearly 500,000 in Kentucky losing vision, dental coverage following Medicaid ruling," 2 July 2018 While Chicago’s parade has a reputation for its wild costumes (or sometimes the lack thereof), Aurora’s had more of a family feel typical of other parades in the suburbs. Susan Keaton, Naperville Sun, "Keaton: Pride Parade was a glorious experience – why not bring it to Naperville?," 28 June 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for suburb

Middle English suburbe, from Anglo-French, from Latin suburbium, from sub- near + urbs city — more at sub-

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about suburb

Statistics for suburb

Last Updated

8 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for suburb

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for suburb

suburb

noun

English Language Learners Definition of suburb

: a town or other area where people live in houses near a larger city

suburb

noun
sub·​urb | \ ˈsə-ˌbərb \

Kids Definition of suburb

: a smaller community close to a city

Other Words from suburb

suburban \ sə-​ˈbər-​bən \ adjective

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on suburb

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with suburb

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for suburb

Spanish Central: Translation of suburb

Nglish: Translation of suburb for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of suburb for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about suburb

Comments on suburb

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

WORD OF THE DAY

means, resources, or money

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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