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’
    • ‘The continued ‘area bombing’ of towns and cities, instead of strategic targets such as oil supplies and transport, was undoubtedly a serious mistake.’
    • ‘For Bastille day I've taken the names of 20 French towns and cities and written an anagram of each.’
    • ‘It has been tested in cities, towns and rural areas as well.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Many cities and towns were nostalgically named after the places the Scottish immigrants had left behind.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Governments of cities, towns and villages also should define in advance their criteria for issuing evacuation calls and issue them promptly when necessary.’
    • ‘They were organized around an exporting economy, and as a result, the major cities dwarfed other towns within the tributary area.’
    • ‘Over the years the concept has spread nationwide and operates in major cities and towns in 25 counties throughout Ireland.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I photograph the perpetually gendered in little rural towns outside the city, towns with names like Ash and Beech and Coriander.’
    • ‘In Namibia reckless individuals occupy erven in residential areas in cities, towns and villages to conduct their unwanted business.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The flight of many Congolese to cities and mining towns outside linguistic boundaries has caused new varieties of language to arise.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In areas where peasants normally congregated, villages became towns and towns became cities.’
    urban area, conurbation, municipality, borough, township, settlement
    city, metropolis, megalopolis
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The particular town under consideration, especially one's own town.
      ‘Churchill was in town’
      • ‘In town, shops were sold out of fans for a time and were quickly snapped up when stocks were replenished.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Aloha Stadium, by day, is where you will find the biggest open flea market in town.’
      • ‘In town you have been mistaken for a child countless times and I know boys who are taller than you.’
      • ‘The big guns are in town and district firearm owners are being given the chance to surrender their weapons for cash.’
      • ‘In town recently for a reading at Concordia, I decided to ask York about her interest in this subject.’
      • ‘The variety of music and announcements kept the locals and tourists informed as to what was happening in town.’
      • ‘It didn't take us long to find the grocery store in town, considering that they only had one.’
      • ‘The only show in town becomes the market and consumerised capitalism.’
      • ‘In town recording their next album, King said that we should expect it in May or so.’
      • ‘In town for the big day, Roxanne Morrisey describes what sort of country Yalgoo is set in.’
      • ‘In town me and Josh got Silver rings as part of the purity for God thing - very cool!’
      • ‘I looked after the house and created the most outstanding garden in town.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The only superpower in town seemed to be settling into what looked like a comfortably peaceful future.’
      • ‘In town, maybe you can afford a tiny shed in some dead-end street.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2British dated The chief city or town of a region.
      ‘he has moved to town’
    3. 1.3[mass 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’
    • ‘Saturday morning we were up bright and early for a quick shopping trip into town for a few bits.’
    • ‘The aim of the vision is to create links between the large superstores on the edge of town and the market area.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 had spent the morning redecorating a room, then headed into town for some shopping.’
    • ‘They have to come into town to do their shopping and that costs money.’
    • ‘They dress in their best clothes, and as they go into town, their neighbors follow.’
    • ‘Anyone with an ounce of sanity left will want to avoid dragging them into town for last-minute shopping.’
    • ‘The incident happened at about 11 am after he had been into town to get some shopping.’
    • ‘I often take a shopping list into town and get the bus straight back empty-handed because I'm so weary.’
    • ‘There are a vast network of interconnecting buses in most urban centres, out to the outermost suburbs of town.’
  • 3[mass noun] Densely populated areas, especially as contrasted with the country or suburbs.

    ‘the cultural differences between town and country’
    • ‘In town, where gardens are usually small and often shady, camellias will appreciate the protection from the sun.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Roman writers, too, had contrasted the corrupt town with the purer virtues of country living.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Of course there is still a difference between town and country, but there is not a geographical split.’
  • 4North American

    another term for township


  • go to town

    • informal Do something thoroughly, enthusiastically, or extravagantly.

      ‘I thought I'd go to town on the redecoration’
      • ‘‘I really went to town with the garden,’ said Mr Hamshaw.’
      • ‘Yesterday the spammers went to town on my inbox; I got about 100 pieces of spam in a 10 hour period.’
      • ‘Don't miss this deep-house extravaganza where I'm sure he'll go to town.’
      • ‘The Victorians really went to town on their Valentine cards, and the production of Valentine cards commenced in earnest in those times.’
      • ‘And here Emma really went to town, playing some superb shots and grabbing her biggest victory in the competition, a conclusive 6-2 win.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘This does not prevent the blokes going out on the town, however, so a quick meal and I'm off to an unspecified pub.’
      • ‘There were a number of revellers enjoying a night out on the town at the time.’
      • ‘Pictures are taken of the groups when they arrive at the airport and when they go out 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.’
      • ‘Anybody would think he was talking about a life-long learning programme, rather than a night on the town.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Now all that remains are a few hazy memories of nights on the town.’
      • ‘I'm going up to Brisbane later this week for a night on the town with some mates.’
      • ‘A lot of Britons tend to drink a week's worth of alcohol in just one or two nights on the town.’
      • ‘Monsieur et Mademoiselle Dove thought the best therapy was a night on the town.’


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