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

Definition of urbane

: notably polite or polished in manner

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. In its earliest English uses, urbane was synonymous with its close relative urban ("of, relating to, characteristic of, or constituting a city"). Both words come from the Latin adjective urbanus ("urban, urbane"), which in turn is derived from urbs, meaning "city." Urbane developed its modern sense denoting 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 paralysis of China’s richest city has astounded its urbane residents, who are normally spoiled for choice with 100,000 restaurants but are now scrounging for food. James T. Areddy, WSJ, 23 Apr. 2022 Gailani, a onetime mujahideen fighter against the Soviets, is now a rotund, urbane man in his sixties. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, 21 Feb. 2022 Ty, an urbane urbanite, has to deal with tent poles and bugs; Stephen is of a generation not necessarily familiar with discussing and exploring their feelings with their grown kid. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, 6 Feb. 2022 Paradoxically, Prohibition gave drinking an urbane cachet. Ron Grossman, chicagotribune.com, 2 Jan. 2022 His swift action was all the more surprising because Tokayev was widely seen as an urbane technocrat still beholden to Nazarbaev, who hand-picked him as his successor in 2019. Tim Lister, CNN, 8 Jan. 2022 Many reflect the perilous reality of living in Brooklyn today and the Bronx yesterday; others, the urbane fantasy. Alison Willmore, Vulture, 6 Dec. 2021 Here, the double-soft combination of a pinwale shirt with jumbo-wale trousers makes a hardy waxed jacket look urbane enough for the office. Kareem Rashed, Robb Report, 4 Dec. 2021 Yet two Wounaan weavers, Miria Chirimia and Elsa Chocho, craft sleek baskets whose two-toned patterns appear positively urbane. Washington Post, 19 Nov. 2021 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of urbane was circa 1623

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Dictionary Entries Near urbane

urban district


urban fantasy

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Statistics for urbane

Last Updated

27 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Urbane.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/urbane. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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