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Middle English citie large or small town, from Anglo-French cité, from Medieval Latin civitat-, civitas, from Latin, citizenship, state, city of Rome, from civis citizen


  • 1 a : an inhabited place of greater size, population, or importance than a town or village
b : an incorporated British town usually of major size or importance having the status of an episcopal see c capitalized (1) : the financial district of London (2) : the influential financial interests of the British economy
c : a usually large or important municipality in the United States governed under a charter granted by the state
d : an incorporated municipal unit of the highest class in Canada
  • 2 : city-state
  • 3 : the people of a city
  • 4 slang : a thing, event, or situation that is strongly characterized by a specified quintessential feature or quality <the movie was shoot-out city>


A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement, particularly a large urban settlement. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law. For example, an article of incorporation approved by the local state legislature distinguishes a city government from a town in Massachusetts. In the United Kingdom and parts of the Commonwealth of Nations, a city is traditionally a settlement with a royal charter. Historically, in Europe, a city was understood to be an urban settlement with a cathedral, hence the official status of St David's as a city in the United Kingdom despite its population of 1,797 in 2001.

Cities generally have advanced systems for sanitation, utilities, land usage, housing, and transportation. The concentration of development greatly facilitates interaction between people and businesses, benefiting both parties in the process. A big city, or metropolis, usually has associated suburbs. Such cities are usually associated with metropolitan areas and urban sprawl, creating numerous business commuters traveling to urban centers of employment. Once a city sprawls far enough to reach another city, this region can be deemed a conurbation or megalopolis.[1]