urban

adjective
ur·​ban | \ ˈər-bən \

Definition of urban

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of, relating to, characteristic of, or constituting a city

Urban

biographical name
Ur·​ban | \ ˈər-bən \

Definition of Urban (Entry 2 of 2)

name of 8 popes: especially II ( Odo \ ˈō-​(ˌ)dō \ of Lagery) circa 1035–1099 (pope 1088–99)

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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 urban in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

And not only that, but lives in urban communities, every day. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "As a Parkland Shooting Survivor, This Is What I Want Brett Kavanaugh to Know About Gun Violence," 7 Sep. 2018 In addition, the urban and suburban divide is less pronounced, as growing suburbs begin looking more like cities, facing some of the same problems with poverty and become demographically more diverse. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Why mayors and urban leaders will have a bigger impact in 2018 elections," 21 Sep. 2018 The juxtaposition of the rustic with the very urban is something new for Ghesquière, who’s always had a sci-fi, futuristic bent. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Who Needs a Runway? Nicolas Ghesquière Hires an A-List Power Posse For His Louis Vuitton Pre-Fall Lookbook," 14 Jan. 2019 Initially proposed years ago, the plan would upzone 27 urban villages, plus commercial corridors and about 6 percent of lots now zoned exclusively for detached houses. Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times, "Seattle City Council starts debate on upzones; here’s how neighborhoods across the city would be affected," 8 Jan. 2019 In areas like the San Francisco Bay Area, as our partners at Urban Habitat note, this is leading to a re-segregation where communities of color are being forced to the urban fringe. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Getting around the Bay Area with Chanell Fletcher," 21 Dec. 2018 That being said, the problem in Chicago is endemic with all of the major urban cities. Fox News, "'Angel moms' weigh in on the immigration debate," 24 Aug. 2018 This story has everything: cloven hooves on the run, a major urban city, an air of mystery—and all without animal carnage or service interruptions? Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "This Story of Two Runaway Goats Has a Ridiculously Happy Ending," 21 Aug. 2018 Wilder is an urban city of more than 3,000 residents nestled along Ky. 9 between Newport and I-275. Chris Mayhew, Cincinnati.com, "Suspect in random Wilder home shooting still on loose," 14 June 2018

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

Adjective

circa 1634, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for urban

Adjective

Latin urbanus, from urbs city

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Learn More about urban

Dictionary Entries near urban

Urawa

urazine

urazole

urban

Urban

Urbana

Urbandale

Statistics for urban

Last Updated

17 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for urban

The first known use of urban was circa 1634

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More Definitions for urban

urban

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of urban

: of or relating to cities and the people who live in them

urban

adjective
ur·​ban | \ ˈər-bən \

Kids Definition of urban

: of, relating to, or being a city urban life

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More from Merriam-Webster on urban

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with urban

Spanish Central: Translation of urban

Nglish: Translation of urban for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of urban for Arabic Speakers

Comments on urban

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