suburb

noun sub·urb \ ˈsə-ˌbərb \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of suburb

1 a : 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

suburban

play \sə-ˈbər-bən\ adjective or noun

suburbanite

play \-bə-ˌnīt\ noun

Recent Examples of suburb from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of suburb

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



SUBURB Defined for English Language Learners

suburb

noun

Definition of suburb for English Language Learners

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


SUBURB Defined for Kids

suburb

noun sub·urb \ ˈsə-ˌbərb \

Definition of suburb for Students

: a smaller community close to a city

suburban

\sə-ˈbər-bən\ adjective


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