ur·​bane | \ˌər-ˈbān \

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 Hollywood’s golden age, no one made urbane, sophisticated romantic comedies like Ernst Lubitsch. Kenneth Turan, latimes.com, "The Lubitsch touch comes to Westwood," 4 July 2018 The company added smaller tasting plates with more urbane dishes like tuna poke. Julie Jargon, WSJ, "Casual-Dining Chains Step Up to the Plate," 3 July 2018 While the professorial Charles runs the family company out of Wichita, the more urbane David settled in New York and became the public face of the brothers’ political activities. The Economist, "David Koch’s retirement and the conservative movement," 7 June 2018 Preyer and Shambaugh, though, had doubled down on that aesthetic, coaxing out as much of the space’s diner-like character as possible while mixing in modern, urbane flourishes. Alexandra Hall, BostonGlobe.com, "At the heart of Woodfords Corner’s revival is this: ‘You don’t get very many opportunities in life to do what you really believe in’," 26 June 2018 The former president is urbane, polyglot and out of touch. The Economist, "Peru’s new president, Martín Vizcarra, explains his plans," 17 May 2018 By showcasing a more urbane take on her culture, Solomon hopes her nontraditional approach will shed light on the diverse backgrounds and teachings indigenous people hold. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "How 6 Indigenous Designers Are Using Fashion to Reclaim Their Culture," 30 May 2018 After all, compared to the elite, liberal and urbane New Englander, the image of Johnson was that of a crude, redneck Texan, who surely like his fellow Southerners would water down, stall or outright stop the bills. Theodore P. Mahne, NOLA.com, "'All the Way' a brilliant political drama from Southern Rep," 29 May 2018 One of the earliest television shows broadcast in color, Rocky and His Friends was clever, fast-paced, and funny, appealing equally to little kids, urbane sophisticates, and anarchic beatniks. Noel Murray, The Verge, "Amazon’s Rocky and Bullwinkle brings back an old favorite… but why?," 11 May 2018

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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Statistics for urbane

Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for urbane

The first known use of urbane was circa 1623

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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

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