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 The more urbane species, the deer and raccoons perhaps, probably won’t be spooked by the public all that much, though the vast majority of the animals will do their exploration at night. Bruce Selcraig, ExpressNews.com, "As his namesake park’s land bridge becomes reality, former San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger looks back," 2 Jan. 2021 The same propensity has carried over into Kidman’s TV work, fueled by the medium’s own quest to amass the urbane cachet of its elder sibling, film. Meredith Blake Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: How Nicole Kidman’s rich white women took over television," 15 Dec. 2020 While its Range Rovers are striking and urbane, everything in the lineup seems either too precious or too luxurious for mud-slinging off-road misadventure. David Beard, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2020 Land Rover Defender 110 SE Refines an Off-Road Icon," 26 Oct. 2020 Until the crash-landing, DeLillo is an urbane observer of the rituals of flight. Dwight Garner, New York Times, "Don DeLillo, an Old Hand at Paranoia and Dread, Meets Us Where We Are," 12 Oct. 2020 Potted palms and strings of lights overhead create a urbane nighttime atmosphere. Frank Edgerton Martin Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Outdoor dining has breathed new life into Minnesota restaurants," 21 Aug. 2020 Add the handsome street trees, and this transitional landscape feels almost urbane. John King, SFChronicle.com, "Restaurants are taking over parking spaces. Here are 6 ways to make them look better," 3 Aug. 2020 People were fascinated by this seemingly urbane emissary from what is often portrayed as a backwards country, representing a leader who, at the time, had not traveled abroad since taking power. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "What Kim Yo Jong's rise to the top says -- and doesn't say -- about being a woman in North Korea," 2 May 2020 On-road, the Compass is not an off-road warrior like the Wrangler, nor an urbane sophisticate like the Grand Cherokee. cleveland, "This cheap Jeep is sure to break your heart (review)," 2 May 2020

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

9 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Urbane.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/urbane. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of urbane

: polite and confident
: fashionable and somewhat formal

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Nglish: Translation of urbane for Spanish Speakers

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