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

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 In his work, Mack creates intricate compositions that echo aspects of movement and the urban grid, while Hudson’s works evoke the topographic — mapping devastation and rejuvenation. Carolina A. Miranda, latimes.com, "Datebook: Shots of old Route 66, dreamlike paintings and garments fashioned from paper," 12 July 2018 Extra: Find information on the urban heat island effect and how cities try to combat it. Science Buddies, Scientific American, "Warm in the Sun," 12 July 2018 Martha's 'secondary residence'—tells an urban story, centered around a whimsical use of color and texture that feels glamorous yet welcoming. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "You Can Now Live Like Martha Stewart With Her New Lifestyle Lines," 21 Mar. 2019 This request falls in line with the IOC's goal of making the Games more youth-focused, gender-balanced, and more urban, Kit McConnell, IOC Sports Director, tells SELF. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "These Are the New Sports We May See at the 2024 Summer Olympics," 27 Feb. 2019 The sneaker is currently available on the Puma website (though, that probably won't last long) in a range of urban-chic color combos: black-on-black, black upper with a white sole, and Selena's white with a black sole. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Selena Gomez Broke Her Instagram Hiatus With These $80 Puma Sneakers," 17 Jan. 2019 For the vast majority of crops, however, the urban farms weren't especially effective. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Urban farms could be incredibly efficient—but aren’t yet," 27 Dec. 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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Dictionary Entries near urban

Urawa

urazine

urazole

urban

Urban

Urbana

Urbandale

Statistics for urban

Last Updated

14 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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