See also: City


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Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English city, citie, citee, cite, from Old French cité, from Latin cīvitās (citizenry; community; a city with its hinterland), from cīvis (native; townsman; citizen), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱey- (to lie down, settle; home, family; love; beloved).

Cognate with Old English hīwan pl (members of one's household, servants). See hewe. Doublet of civitas.

Mostly displaced native Old English burg, whence Modern English burg.


Part of New York City, a large city with many tall buildings.
Despite its small size, Wells is a city because of its cathedral.


city (plural cities)

  1. A large settlement, bigger than a town; sometimes with a specific legal definition, depending on the place.
    São Paulo is the largest city in South America.
    • c. 1591–1592 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Third Part of Henry the Sixt, []”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene i], page 147, column 2:
      Ah, knovv you not the Citie fauours them, / And they haue troupes of Souldiers at their beck?
    • 1908, W[illiam] B[lair] M[orton] Ferguson, chapter IV, in Zollenstein, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, →OCLC:
      So this was my future home, I thought! [] Backed by towering hills, the but faintly discernible purple line of the French boundary off to the southwest, a sky of palest Gobelin flecked with fat, fleecy little clouds, it in truth looked a dear little city; the city of one's dreams.
    • 2014 June 14, “It's a gas”, in The Economist, volume 411, number 8891:
      One of the hidden glories of Victorian engineering is proper drains. Isolating a city’s effluent and shipping it away in underground sewers has probably saved more lives than any medical procedure except vaccination.
    • 2020 July 15, Mike Brown talks to Paul Clifton, “Leading London's "hidden heroes"”, in Rail, page 42:
      All our stations have changed. We have to constrain numbers. We have to mandate face coverings. These are massive changes in what is a public transport city. This is not a car city.
  2. (UK) A settlement granted special status by royal charter or letters patent; traditionally, a settlement with a cathedral regardless of size.
    • 1976, Cornelius P. Darcy, The Encouragement of the Fine Arts in Lancashire, 1760-1860, Manchester University Press, →ISBN, page 20:
      Manchester, incorporated in 1838, was made the centre of a bishopric in 1847 and became a city in 1853. Liverpool was transformed into a city by Royal Charter when the new diocese of Liverpool was created in 1880.
    • 2014, Graham Rutt, Cycling Britain's Cathedrals Volume 1,, →ISBN, page 307:
      St Davids itself is the smallest city in Great Britain, with a population of less than 2,000.
  3. (Australia) The central business district; downtown.
    I'm going into the city today to do some shopping.
  4. (slang) A large amount of something (used after the noun).
    It’s video game city in here!


Derived termsEdit

Place names ending in City

Pages starting with “city”.

Related termsEdit


  • French: City
  • German: City
  • Italian: city
  • Swedish: city


See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • "city" in Raymond Williams, Keywords (revised), 1983, Fontana Press, page 55.






  1. nominative/accusative/vocative/instrumental plural of cit



Unadapted borrowing from English city. Doublet of città.



city f (invariable)

  1. city (financial district of a city)

Derived termsEdit


  1. ^ city in Luciano Canepari, Dizionario di Pronuncia Italiana (DiPI)

Middle EnglishEdit



  1. Alternative form of cite



Borrowed from English city.



city n

  1. inner city, the commercial centre of a medium-sized or larger city
    Lite närmare city, i närheten av konstmuseet, ligger Norrköpings mest attraktiva lägenheter.
    A little closer to the town centre, next to the art museum, you'll find Norrköping's most attractive apartments.
    Det finns mycket att förbättra i vårt city.
    There are many things that need improvement in our inner city.

Usage notesEdit

  • centrum is used for the commercial centre of suburbs and small or medium-sized towns.