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 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 The score presents numerous opportunities for out-and-out fiddling — its Czech folk background repeatedly pushing its way to the fore — and Tetzlaff dug into them with a kind of urbane rusticity. Washington Post, "At the Kennedy Center, Eschenbach casts the NSO in standard but staunch roles," 25 Jan. 2020 Jaya, the urbane daughter of an Indian diplomat, holds a coveted position in international relations. Sally Franson, SFChronicle.com, "Review: Tragic death fractures a household in Gowda’s ‘The Shape of Family’," 23 Mar. 2020 Back when Gornick was writing about the urbane urban life, the commercial internet was still new. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "It Doesn’t Matter If Anyone Exists or Not," 24 Feb. 2020 The ultra-urbane Ricardo Montalbán 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, "Review: Fantasy Island commits the ultimate cinematic sin: It’s boring," 15 Feb. 2020 But things have suddenly become more complicated for the urbane Monsieur Arnault. Adrian Croft, Fortune, "Luxury goods mogul Bernard Arnault was briefly crowned ‘world’s richest man.’ Then coronavirus struck," 12 Feb. 2020 Sophisticated and urbane liberals like Obama or Clinton were allies to the LGBTQ community, of course! Ed Burmila, The New Republic, "The Obsolete Politics of James Carville," 10 Feb. 2020 The restaurant earned fans in Cleveland and around the country for its fresh, locally sourced and eclectic menu, as well as its urbane aesthetic. Eric Heisig, cleveland, "Jonathon Sawyer speaks: Chef says closure of acclaimed Greenhouse Tavern motivated by debt," 7 Feb. 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

16 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Urbane.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/urbane. Accessed 5 Jun. 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

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