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 breakout star of the series was sassy, smart, urbane and flippant Lance Loud. Tim Sommer, Billboard, "From '70s Reality TV Star to Queer Underground Rock Hero: Celebrating Lance Loud," 25 June 2019 The scenes are generally painted with urbane, rhythmically punchy big-band-style jazz, beefed up with strings, under declamatory vocal lines. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, "Review: ‘The Central Park Five’ Turns Injustice Into Opera," 16 June 2019 Mizrahi’s designs are a reflection of himself: ebullient, upbeat, urbane, and always personal. Vogue, "Isaac Mizrahi’s New Memoir, I.M., Is No Frockumentary—And the Better for It," 26 Feb. 2019 With its urbane perspective on youth culture, the film offered a counterpoint to the frothy Cluess fantasy at the time and returns to theaters this weekend for a 20th anniversary celebratory run. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Cruel Intentions Is Still a Teenage Fashion Dream 20 Years On," 22 Mar. 2019 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

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

12 Jul 2019

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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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characterized by aphorism

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