suburb

noun
sub·​urb | \ ˈsə-ˌbərb How to pronounce suburb (audio) \

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

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Other Words from suburb

suburban \ sə-​ˈbər-​bən How to pronounce suburban (audio) \ adjective or noun
suburbanite \ sə-​ˈbər-​bə-​ˌnīt How to pronounce suburbanite (audio) \ 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 overall biggest spenders in Texas are in Flower Mound, a Dallas suburb, where people typically spend a whopping $2,973 per season. Darla Guillen Gilthorpe, Chron, "Houston suburb dwellers have some of the biggest holiday budgets in U.S.," 19 Nov. 2020 The Bay Area suburb of Antioch, in the early 2000s, had housing to spare. Los Angeles Times, "Black and Latino renters face eviction, exclusion amid police crackdowns in California," 19 Nov. 2020 People ransacked malls in San Francisco, San Leandro, and the wealthy suburb of Walnut Creek, stealing from Best Buys, Home Depots, video-game stores, small businesses, and marijuana dispensaries. Shane Bauer, The New Yorker, "How a Deadly Police Force Ruled a City," 16 Nov. 2020 The first incident was in Baldwin Park — a majority-Latino Los Angeles suburb — where someone set fire to a ballot box on Oct. 18 containing about 100 ballots earlier this month. Nicquel Terry Ellis, USA TODAY, "Guns, lies and ballots set on fire: This is voter suppression in 2020," 29 Oct. 2020 The Valley suburb, just northwest of Phoenix, used some of its $20.2 million in CARES Act funding allocated by the Governor's Office to purchase 50 Chromebook laptops and wireless internet hotspots. Joshua Bowling, The Arizona Republic, "Peoria residents working or learning remotely can check out a laptop, hotspot from libraries," 17 Oct. 2020 Trump, meanwhile, was attending an afternoon fundraiser in Shorewood, Minnesota, a suburb to the west of Minneapolis, before appearing at an evening campaign rally in Duluth on the shores of Lake Superior. Anchorage Daily News, "Biden and Trump snipe at each other from the campaign trail after chaotic debate," 1 Oct. 2020 Trump, meanwhile, attended an afternoon fundraiser in Shorewood, Minnesota, a suburb to the west of Minneapolis, before appearing at an evening campaign rally in Duluth on the shores of Lake Superior. Steve Peoples, Star Tribune, "Biden, Trump snipe from road and rails after debate chaos," 30 Sep. 2020 Trump, meanwhile, was attending an afternoon fundraiser in Shorewood, Minnesota, a suburb to the west of Minneapolis, before appearing at an evening campaign rally in Duluth on the shores of Lake Superior. Arkansas Online, "Biden, Trump press contrasts in Midwest after debate chaos," 30 Sep. 2020

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.

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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-

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Time Traveler for suburb

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for suburb

Last Updated

3 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Suburb.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/suburb. Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for suburb

suburb

noun
How to pronounce suburb (audio)

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 How to pronounce suburb (audio) \

Kids Definition of suburb

: a smaller community close to a city

Other Words from suburb

suburban \ sə-​ˈbər-​bən \ adjective

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Comments on suburb

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