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 neons and blues of planet Promethea's urban guerrilla warfare provide a welcome change from the brown and gray desert environments Borderlands is generally known for (Pre-Sequel also showed a lot of promise on this score). Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Borderlands 3 is a lot more Borderlands, in ways both good and bad," 17 Sep. 2019 In a gentrifying Oakland, Ayofemi is reimagining urban development through the lens of a visual artist and community organizer. Janelle Bitker, SFChronicle.com, "What if a black artist reimagined urban development for Oakland’s black community? Binta Ayofemi is," 29 Aug. 2019 Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio and secretary of housing and urban development under President Barack Obama has a history of supporting animal rights. Reis Thebault, chicagotribune.com, "Julián Castro introduces animal welfare plan," 27 Aug. 2019 As urban development encroached upon the structures, the Corps made changes to minimize the risk of flooding. Scott Dalton, CNN, "Their neighborhood was flooded to save Houston," 25 Aug. 2019 On top of the 209 vivid rooms with record players and kombucha in the minibars, Eaton has a radio station that broadcasts on issues like equality, as well as seminar spaces holding talks on urban development. Erin Florio, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why Hotels in the U.S. Are Better Than Ever," 23 Aug. 2019 But humans have been draining peatlands and replacing them with agriculture or urban development. Matt Simon, WIRED, "New IPCC Report Shows How Our Abuse of Land Drives Climate Change," 8 Aug. 2019 Both men served under President Barack Obama — Biden as vice president, Castro as secretary of housing and urban development. Bill Lambrecht, ExpressNews.com, "Castro’s call to decriminalize border crossings sets tone for Democrats, fuels GOP attacks," 1 Aug. 2019 Thanks to urban development, growing numbers of people can reasonably bike or walk to their destinations. Nic Garcia, The Denver Post, "The Spot: I watched Wednesday’s debate with friends. Here are my 3 takeaways.," 1 Aug. 2019

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

13 Oct 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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