Word of the Day : November 16, 2013


noun kah-ner-BAY-shun


: an aggregation or continuous network of urban communities

Did You Know?

When Sir Patrick Geddes, a Scottish biologist turned sociologist, sat down in 1915 to write Cities in Evolution, a work on urban planning, he needed a word. How should he refer to thickly populated regions consisting of a sprawling range of cities clustered together? "Some name, then, for these city-regions, these town aggregates, is wanted…. What of 'conurbations'?" he asked rhetorically early on in his work. For his coinage, Geddes combined "urbs" (the Latin word for "city," already familiar in "urban" and "suburb") with the Latin prefix "con-" ("together") and the English noun suffix "-ation." It turned out that his word suited English speakers just fine-we've been using it ever since.


The conurbation is served by a sophisticated system of trains and subways.

"He also questioned whether China needs more cities when most migration has been to the 70 biggest conurbations." - From an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 18, 2013

Word Family Quiz

What relative of "conurbation" means "notably polite or polished in manner"? The answer is …


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