ur·​bane | \ ˌər-ˈbān How to pronounce urbane (audio) \

Definition of urbane

: notably polite or polished in manner

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Other Words from urbane

urbanely adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for urbane

suave, urbane, diplomatic, bland, smooth, politic mean pleasantly tactful and well-mannered. suave suggests a specific ability to deal with others easily and without friction. a suave public relations coordinator urbane implies high cultivation and poise coming from wide social experience. an urbane traveler diplomatic stresses an ability to deal with ticklish situations tactfully. a diplomatic negotiator bland emphasizes mildness of manner and absence of irritating qualities. a bland master of ceremonies smooth suggests often a deliberately assumed suavity. a smooth salesman politic implies shrewd as well as tactful and suave handling of people. a cunningly politic manager

When Should You Use urbane?

City slickers and country folk have long debated whether life is better in town or in the wide open spaces, and urbane is a term that springs from the throes of that debate. The word traces back to Latin urbs, meaning "city," and in its earliest English uses urbane was synonymous with its close relative urban ("of, relating to, characteristic of, or constituting a city"). Urbane developed its modern sense of savoir faire from the belief (no doubt fostered by city dwellers) that living in the city made one more suave and polished than did leading a rural life.

Examples of urbane in a Sentence

The dialogue is witty and urbane. a gentlemanly and urbane host of elegant dinner parties
Recent Examples on the Web In this first book of poems, Ovid employed an urbane, ironic voice. Esteban Berché, National Geographic, "Did Ovid's erotic poetry lead to his exile from Rome?," 26 Nov. 2019 Military units from Kyoto were generally seen as well bred and urbane, but this particular regiment’s actions gave it a surprisingly bloody reputation. Haruki Murakami, The New Yorker, "Abandoning a Cat," 30 Sep. 2019 Babel BudapestExceptional innovative cuisine inflected with Hungarian flavors in an urbane room, right in the heart of downtown Pest. András Szántó, Condé Nast Traveler, "Where to Eat, Stay, and Play in Budapest," 29 Aug. 2018 Back at Tracy Hills, Palmer says his team is taking pains to make sure the project is a new breed of greener and more urbane subdivision. J.k. Dineen, SFChronicle.com, "Despite climate crisis, California continues to embrace exurban sprawl," 20 Sep. 2019 The ultra-urbane Ricardo Montalban played the dashing Mr. Roarke, proprietor of the titular island, providing guests the chance to live out their fantasies for a suitable price. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Guests get more than they bargained for in trailer for Fantasy Island reboot," 11 Nov. 2019 Certainly, there are the home’s 14 rooms with beam ceilings and stately wainscoting of dark oak trimmed with stained glass: an urbane gentleman’s club. R. Daniel Foster, Los Angeles Times, "An L.A. home where homoerotic artist Tom of Finland lived is a shrine to his legacy," 2 Oct. 2019 Lately, however, more urbane brands like Uniqlo have gotten into the insulation game, turning out more sophisticated, slimmer riffs with cozy linings. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Flannel-Lined Pants: Suddenly, They’re Stylish," 18 Dec. 2018 Smith, who is likewise an accomplished and wide-ranging actor, makes an utter charmer of Toddy, with an urbane grace, a smooth singing voice and a gentle comic touch. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘Victor/Victoria’ gets a stylish staging at Moonlight, but musical’s story is stretched a little thin," 12 Sep. 2019

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

circa 1623, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for urbane

Latin urbanus urban, urbane

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Time Traveler for urbane

Time Traveler

The first known use of urbane was circa 1623

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Last Updated

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Urbane.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/urbane. Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for urbane


How to pronounce urbane (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of urbane

: polite and confident
: fashionable and somewhat formal

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More from Merriam-Webster on urbane

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for urbane

Spanish Central: Translation of urbane

Nglish: Translation of urbane for Spanish Speakers

Comments on urbane

What made you want to look up urbane? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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