ur·​ban·​ize | \ˈər-bə-ˌnīz \
urbanized; urbanizing

Definition of urbanize 

transitive verb

1 : to cause to take on urban characteristics urbanized areas

2 : to impart an urban way of life to urbanize migrants from rural areas

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for urbanize



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of urbanize in a Sentence

every September the city of Boston urbanizes a new crop of college students from small towns across the country

Recent Examples on the Web

Cities in the less developed and more rapidly urbanizing parts of the world, such as Ho Chi Minh City and Mumbai, may experience even more substantial losses as a percentage of their total economic output. Richard Florida, WIRED, "Climate Change Will Force the Poor From Their Homes," 13 July 2018 But Musk is confronting a major problem facing today’s rapidly urbanizing populations. Larry Greenemeier, Scientific American, "First SpaceX Hyperloop Transit Pod Contender Unveiled [Video]," 14 May 2016 But for a world that’s rapidly urbanizing and heating, the truly cool tech is bikes. Clive Thompson, WIRED, "The Vehicle of the Future Has Two Wheels, Handlebars, and Is a Bike," 13 May 2018 Many areas have urbanized, with more walkable streets, independent boutiques and eateries. Katy Mclaughlin, WSJ, "Living in ‘the Valley’ Is, Like, Cool Now," 29 Mar. 2018 The country was rapidly urbanizing; previously far-flung places were newly linked by railroads. Rachel Monroe, The Atlantic, "The Perfect Man Who Wasn't," 6 Mar. 2018 Africa is urbanizing faster than any other region of the world. Jeffrey Gettleman, New York Times, "In the Land of the Skinny, People are Getting Fat," 27 Jan. 2018 Pockets like North Hollywood’s Arts District and Burbank’s Magnolia Park are urbanizing fast, making for some wonderfully walkable neighborhoods. Zoie Matthew, Los Angeles Magazine, "Why You Should Say Yes to a Walk Through NoHo and Burbank," 25 Jan. 2018 Mobile homes are most often found in rural areas, and the Sacramento region has urbanized significantly over the last few decades. Phillip Reese, sacbee, "Sacramento region: Mobile homes are cheap, but increasingly rare | The Sacramento Bee," 12 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'urbanize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of urbanize

1836, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about urbanize

Statistics for urbanize

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for urbanize

The first known use of urbanize was in 1836

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on urbanize

What made you want to look up urbanize? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!