From Old French suburbe, subburbe, from Latin suburbium, from sub- + urbs (city). Displaced native Old English underburg, literally “sub-” or “under-city.”



suburb (plural suburbs)

  1. A residential area located on the outskirts of a city or large town that usually includes businesses that cater to its residents; such as schools, grocery stores, shopping centers, restaurants, convenience stores, etc.
    Coordinate term: exurb
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], OCLC 964384981, Numbers 35:1–2:
      And the Lord spake vnto Moses in the plaines of Moab by Iordane, neere Iericho, saying,
      Command the children of Israel, that they giue vnto the Leuites of the inheritance of their possession, cities to dwell in: and yee shall giue also vnto the Leuites suburbs for the cities round about them.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, volume (please specify |volume=I to VI), London: A[ndrew] Millar, [], OCLC 928184292:
      These two circumstances, however, happening both unfortunately to intervene, our travellers deviated into a much less frequented track; and after riding full six miles, instead of arriving at the stately spires of Coventry, they found themselves still in a very dirty lane, where they saw no symptoms of approaching the suburbs of a large city.
    • 1818, Henry Hallam, View of the State of Europe during the Middle Ages
      [London] could hardly have contained less than thirty or forty thousand souls within its walls; and the suburbs were very populous.
  2. (by extension) The outer part; the environment.
  3. (Australia, New Zealand) Any subdivision of a conurbation, not necessarily on the periphery.

Derived termsEdit