From Old French suburbe, subburbe, from Latin suburbium, from sub- + urbs (city).


  • IPA(key): /ˈsʌbɜː(ɹ)b/
  • (file)


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
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
      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.
    • (Can we date this quote by Hallam and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      [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.
    • 1650, Jeremy Taylor, The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living
      the suburbs [] of sorrow
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 1”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker [] [a]nd by Robert Boulter [] [a]nd Matthias Walker, [], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, OCLC 230729554:
      the suburb of their straw-built citadel
  3. (Australia, New Zealand) Any subdivision of a conurbation, not necessarily on the periphery.

Derived termsEdit