: a compactly settled area usually larger than a village but smaller than a city
: a compactly settled area as distinguished from surrounding rural territory
: a large densely populated urban area : city
: an English village having a periodic fair or market
: a particular town or city under consideration
the circus came to town
: the city or urban life as contrasted with the country
: the inhabitants of a city or town
practically the whole town turned out for the parade
: the townspeople of a college or university town as distinct from the academic community
relations between town and gown
: a New England territorial and political unit usually containing under a single town government both rural areas and urban areas not having their own charter of incorporation
also : a New England community governed by a town meeting
dialectal, England : a cluster or aggregation of houses recognized as a distinct place with a place-name : hamlet
: a group of prairie dog burrows
town adjective
on the town
: in usually carefree pursuit of entertainment or amusement (such as city nightlife) especially as a relief from routine

Examples of town in a Sentence

the town of Jackson, Florida The nearest shopping mall is two towns away. The town plans to increase property taxes. We're heading to town later on.
Recent Examples on the Web In early 2023, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance published a report concluding that more communities were turning away from the prospect of a dollar store opening up in their town. Gabe Hauari, USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2024 For example, some folks are hiding secrets which are relatively mundane but could cause a scandal in a small town like this, others have strangeness entries which detail supernatural occurences and a few have both. Rob Wieland, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2024 In the original movie, Toxie is a 98-pound janitor named Melvin Junko who, after falling into an oil drum filled with toxic waste, becomes an unlikely vigilante in his New Jersey town. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Feb. 2024 Read Next Drums for Ringo Starr are only made in this small NC town. Adam Bell, Charlotte Observer, 22 Feb. 2024 The Fresno County town of Coalinga went a step further by offering up a former prison, the Claremont Custody Center, for a cannabis oil extraction plant. Peter Hecht, Sacramento Bee, 21 Feb. 2024 Across town, editors bounced around in a potpourri of checks and plaids, reimagined trench coats, and quintessential London grays. Megan O'Sullivan, Vogue, 21 Feb. 2024 On the other, a warming planet means that artificial snow is increasingly essential to an industry that, while admittedly a luxury, pumps over $20 billion annually into ski towns nationwide. Popular Science, 21 Feb. 2024 Areas include the ski resort town of Beech Mountain; Clingmans Dome, the highest point in Great Smoky Mountains National Park at 6,643 feet; Roan Mountain in Tennessee; the community of Wolf Laurel, 30 miles north of Asheville; and the Avery County town of Elk Park, Chaney said. Joe Marusak, Charlotte Observer, 10 Feb. 2024 See More

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

Word History


Middle English, from Old English tūn enclosure, village, town; akin to Old High German zūn enclosure, Old Irish dún fortress

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 6

Time Traveler
The first known use of town was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near town

Cite this Entry

“Town.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/town. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a compactly settled area that is usually larger than a village but smaller than a city
: the people of a town
town adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on town

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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