urban

adjective
ur·​ban | \ ˈər-bən How to pronounce urban (audio) \

Definition of urban

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

Urban

biographical name
Ur·​ban | \ ˈər-bən How to pronounce Urban (audio) \

Definition of Urban (Entry 2 of 2)

name of 8 popes: especially II ( Odo \ ˈō-​(ˌ)dō How to pronounce ˈō-(ˌ)dō (audio)\ 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

The Washington Post’s Balz broke up the suburbs broadly into subcategories, based on their proximity to their urban center, and figured out how well Republicans did in each category. Dylan Scott, Vox, "The suburbs abandoned Republicans in 2018, and they might not be coming back.," 26 Dec. 2018 Ikea, which has relied on customers trekking to its box stores, is playing catch up on e-commerce and experimenting with smaller stores in urban centers. Diana Budds, Curbed, "The rise of the direct-to-consumer home," 21 Dec. 2018 But between 2005 and 2015, China's population moved to urban centers and grew wealthier. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "In China, replacing coal and biomass stoves has saved lives," 21 Nov. 2018 In its day, the ancient city of Teotihuacan was the largest urban center in the Americas — and the sixth-largest city in the world. Carolina A. Miranda, latimes.com, "Datebook: Shots of old Route 66, dreamlike paintings and garments fashioned from paper," 12 July 2018 But so have most cities; Philadelphia isn’t growing like other big urban centers, or the nation as a whole. Joseph N. Distefano, Philly.com, "Philly poverty: Cause, or effect?," 11 July 2018 Our urban centers provide the culture, diversity and amenities that millennials seek. kansascity, "Jean Paul Bradshaw," 30 June 2018 Trump allied himself with the cops over the protesters, warned of the murderous gangs sweeping through urban America, and called for a total ban on Muslim travel to and from the country. Ezra Klein, Vox, "How identity politics elected Donald Trump," 5 Nov. 2018 Over the three-day conference, engineers, business buffs, urban planners, government officials, and transportation researchers grappled with how to tell the public that its wonder drug of a transportation solution will have its limitations. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "Home From the Honeymoon, the Self-Driving Car Industry Faces Reality," 13 July 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

28 Apr 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 How to pronounce urban (audio) \

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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