Definition of town in English:



  • 1A built-up area with a name, defined boundaries, and local government, that is larger than a village and generally smaller than a city.

    ‘the hotel is eight miles from the nearest town’
    ‘Britain's major towns and cities’
    • ‘For Bastille day I've taken the names of 20 French towns and cities and written an anagram of each.’
    • ‘These extensions followed on from the government desire to generate development in run down areas of cities and major towns.’
    • ‘We may be entering into a period when the local areas, the villages, towns and cities in which we live become more important to us.’
    • ‘They were organized around an exporting economy, and as a result, the major cities dwarfed other towns within the tributary area.’
    • ‘It has been tested in cities, towns and rural areas as well.’
    • ‘He points out that the solid fuel industry cooperated fully with the Department when smokefree zones were introduced in many major cities and towns throughout the country.’
    • ‘Many cities and towns were nostalgically named after the places the Scottish immigrants had left behind.’
    • ‘In areas where peasants normally congregated, villages became towns and towns became cities.’
    • ‘There are now plans to hold similar expos in several major towns and cities, in order to bring more revenue to artisans around the country, throughout the year.’
    • ‘The continued deplorable condition of districts, villages, towns and cities throughout the country leaves lots to be desired.’
    • ‘From countries and capitals to cities, towns and villages, as we move further down on a geographical scale, there is a village in Sweden and another one in Scotland.’
    • ‘Indeed the transformation of this particular site and its surroundings is serving as a model for other developments in more socially excluded areas of other large towns and cities.’
    • ‘I photograph the perpetually gendered in little rural towns outside the city, towns with names like Ash and Beech and Coriander.’
    • ‘Governments of cities, towns and villages also should define in advance their criteria for issuing evacuation calls and issue them promptly when necessary.’
    • ‘The continued ‘area bombing’ of towns and cities, instead of strategic targets such as oil supplies and transport, was undoubtedly a serious mistake.’
    • ‘The flight of many Congolese to cities and mining towns outside linguistic boundaries has caused new varieties of language to arise.’
    • ‘Over the years the concept has spread nationwide and operates in major cities and towns in 25 counties throughout Ireland.’
    • ‘Barn owls thrive in and around human settlements in villages, towns and cities.’
    • ‘Firstly, that there are significant numbers of young men concentrated in inner areas of towns and cities about to hit the peak period of offending.’
    • ‘In Namibia reckless individuals occupy erven in residential areas in cities, towns and villages to conduct their unwanted business.’
    urban area, conurbation, municipality, borough, township, settlement
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The particular town under consideration, especially one's own town.
      ‘Churchill was in town’
      • ‘The big guns are in town and district firearm owners are being given the chance to surrender their weapons for cash.’
      • ‘In town, shops were sold out of fans for a time and were quickly snapped up when stocks were replenished.’
      • ‘The variety of music and announcements kept the locals and tourists informed as to what was happening in town.’
      • ‘In town a man ties several dozen eggs on the back of his bike, while a small farmer wheels around the corner with a can of milk on his carrier.’
      • ‘I looked after the house and created the most outstanding garden in town.’
      • ‘Aloha Stadium, by day, is where you will find the biggest open flea market in town.’
      • ‘In town me and Josh got Silver rings as part of the purity for God thing - very cool!’
      • ‘The only show in town becomes the market and consumerised capitalism.’
      • ‘In town for the big day, Roxanne Morrisey describes what sort of country Yalgoo is set in.’
      • ‘In town, maybe you can afford a tiny shed in some dead-end street.’
      • ‘In town recently for a reading at Concordia, I decided to ask York about her interest in this subject.’
      • ‘As most Parisians escape the city in August there will just be me and Darren and a couple of million other tourists in town that weekend.’
      • ‘In town recording their next album, King said that we should expect it in May or so.’
      • ‘In town you have been mistaken for a child countless times and I know boys who are taller than you.’
      • ‘In town there is, for the moment, nothing for me or any honest man to do.’
      • ‘In town, Julia dares to ask Cole to lunch with her family, and is embarrassed when he politely turns her down.’
      • ‘It didn't take us long to find the grocery store in town, considering that they only had one.’
      • ‘The only superpower in town seemed to be settling into what looked like a comfortably peaceful future.’
      • ‘In town these are covered by an annual waste management charge on utility bills.’
      • ‘In town the other day to announce the launching of the new party, Devan was exuding confidence.’
    2. 1.2British dated The chief city or town of a region.
      ‘he has moved to town’
    3. 1.3mass noun The permanent residents of a university town.
      ‘a rift between the city's town and gown’
      Often contrasted with gown
      • ‘No longer are rivalries between town and gown manifested in destruction, riot and murder.’
      • ‘Central Vision has taken this further with its detailed submission as to how a campus at York Central would be good for town and gown.’
  • 2The central part of a neighbourhood, with its business or shopping area.

    ‘Rachel left to drive back into town’
    • ‘I often take a shopping list into town and get the bus straight back empty-handed because I'm so weary.’
    • ‘The aim of the vision is to create links between the large superstores on the edge of town and the market area.’
    • ‘Saturday morning we were up bright and early for a quick shopping trip into town for a few bits.’
    • ‘Anyone with an ounce of sanity left will want to avoid dragging them into town for last-minute shopping.’
    • ‘The woman was walking into town to do her shopping when she was punched in the head by a man trying to snatch her handbag.’
    • ‘They stream into town from the central station and spread out across the city until the whole of the capital is one giant party zone.’
    • ‘They have to come into town to do their shopping and that costs money.’
    • ‘They had spent the morning redecorating a room, then headed into town for some shopping.’
    • ‘There are a vast network of interconnecting buses in most urban centres, out to the outermost suburbs of town.’
    • ‘They dress in their best clothes, and as they go into town, their neighbors follow.’
    • ‘The incident happened at about 11 am after he had been into town to get some shopping.’
  • 3mass noun Densely populated areas, especially as contrasted with the country or suburbs.

    ‘the cultural differences between town and country’
    • ‘Roman writers, too, had contrasted the corrupt town with the purer virtues of country living.’
    • ‘In town particular care is needed because cyclists and pedestrians may not hear it coming.’
    • ‘In town, when you're walking along a road, you don't make eye contact.’
    • ‘In town, where gardens are usually small and often shady, camellias will appreciate the protection from the sun.’
    • ‘Of course there is still a difference between town and country, but there is not a geographical split.’
    • ‘In town is another story, as its massive bulk can make it unwieldy in tight parking areas.’
    • ‘In town, most women do domestic chores and child care while their husbands are at work.’
  • 4North American

    another term for township (sense 3 of the noun)


  • go to town

    • informal Do something thoroughly, enthusiastically, or extravagantly.

      ‘I thought I'd go to town on the redecoration’
      • ‘There probably are other trusts that would be interested if I really went to town on a campaign, but I'm just too old.’
      • ‘This nonsense has been forced on the security staff by the EU, but even more so by the media who went to town on the security arrangements simply because some people were able to breach the security systems at the airport.’
      • ‘‘I really went to town with the garden,’ said Mr Hamshaw.’
      • ‘What might have happened was bad, indeed, but the way the two sister wings of our armed forces went to town with charges against each other was, of course, much worse.’
      • ‘The Victorians really went to town on their Valentine cards, and the production of Valentine cards commenced in earnest in those times.’
      • ‘Don't miss this deep-house extravaganza where I'm sure he'll go to town.’
      • ‘Yesterday the spammers went to town on my inbox; I got about 100 pieces of spam in a 10 hour period.’
      • ‘And here Emma really went to town, playing some superb shots and grabbing her biggest victory in the competition, a conclusive 6-2 win.’
      • ‘But other newspapers picked it up and went to town with it.’
      • ‘But I feel my mum really went to town with this meal.’
  • on the town

    • informal Enjoying the nightlife of a city or town.

      ‘a lot of guys out for a night on the town’
      • ‘There were a number of revellers enjoying a night out on the town at the time.’
      • ‘The day at the races goes on into the evening as hordes of people head into Liverpool city centre for a chaotic night on the town.’
      • ‘A lot of Britons tend to drink a week's worth of alcohol in just one or two nights on the town.’
      • ‘Anybody would think he was talking about a life-long learning programme, rather than a night on the town.’
      • ‘Monsieur et Mademoiselle Dove thought the best therapy was a night on the town.’
      • ‘They are the people who bring them back after a night out on the town, and I have yet to find a single cab driver who can give me an adverse report.’
      • ‘Now all that remains are a few hazy memories of nights on the town.’
      • ‘This does not prevent the blokes going out on the town, however, so a quick meal and I'm off to an unspecified pub.’
      • ‘Pictures are taken of the groups when they arrive at the airport and when they go out on the town.’
      • ‘I'm going up to Brisbane later this week for a night on the town with some mates.’


Old English tūn ‘enclosed piece of land, homestead, village’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch tuin ‘garden’ and German Zaun ‘fence’.