Definition of urban in English:



  • 1In, relating to, or characteristic of a town or city.

    ‘the urban population’
    • ‘They live in a suburb of Boston in a mansion that looks like an urban city library.’
    • ‘The growth of large civilisations has meant that large cities and urban areas have been built in many parts of the world.’
    • ‘The masterplan for Bradford aims to breathe new life into the city through an urban park, a lake and wetlands.’
    • ‘The development would either be an urban extension of the town or a new village.’
    • ‘The growth in population is part of the city council's urban development strategy.’
    • ‘It sees the area around City Hall as a lake and the rest of the city as a vast urban park with shops, houses and a dramatic bridge of learning.’
    • ‘A massive migration from rural to urban areas characterized the twentieth century.’
    • ‘We both grew up in the city and are urban girls who love the country.’
    • ‘It is one of only two formal ways for members of the rural population to move to urban areas.’
    • ‘Ballina Town Council has drawn up new by-laws to amend speed limits on urban roads in the town.’
    • ‘It may come as a surprise to city dwellers, but urban environments could be the ideal place for humans to live.’
    • ‘If you compare the urban areas of the two towns, they have very similar funding levels.’
    • ‘I'm becoming increasingly interested in urban design and town planning, mainly as a consumer.’
    • ‘The city's own official urban designer, Sir Terry Farrell, called the scheme a disaster.’
    • ‘Apart from such forest types one can see this tree in urban and suburban areas close to the city, he adds.’
    • ‘We need to preserve places we can go to when we need to get away from the lunacy of urban, busy cities.’
    • ‘He says the action is in the cities, where urban elites are the future of the country.’
    • ‘It is a dense city with distinct urban cores, practical and delightful to traverse on foot.’
    • ‘Dublin was the earliest of the Irish towns to take on urban characteristics.’
    • ‘The town was one of the six fastest growing urban areas in Ireland, according to the last census.’
    built-up, town, city, inner-city, densely populated, townified, citified, metropolitan, suburban, non-rural
    View synonyms
  • 2Denoting or relating to popular dance music of black origin.

    ‘hip-hop's traditionally urban vibe’
    • ‘It was a crucible of new black urban music, influenced by American jazz.’
    • ‘As a solo performer from the 1970s onwards, he's been one of the staples of urban contemporary music.’
    • ‘They are also more tuned in to radio, listening some 22.6 hours per week, and often turn their dials to black gospel and urban contemporary stations.’
    • ‘He continues to set the standards that so many urban artists fail to reach.’
    • ‘The artist has developed a huge following for the way in which his urban sound fuses elements of R'n'B, rap and soul.’
    • ‘With live bass and drums, synths and samples Tokyo specialise in squelchy electronica with a dark urban edge.’
    • ‘Unlike many urban albums The Diary of Alicia Keys is refreshing in its lack of featured artists.’
    • ‘It may be more commercial than the urban sound of earlier tracks, but that's no bad thing.’
    • ‘This is a critical function that for me is missing from the more urban genres of music.’
    • ‘It's darker, more urban and a more personal record with the focus having shifted to one of song writing as well as tune making.’
    • ‘They're the ones bringing out the major stars, especially in urban music.’
    • ‘This is on urban contemporary radio stations, primarily.’
    • ‘For instance, if someone is listening to an urban contemporary station, the candidate advertisements should reflect the same format and use similar types of music.’
    • ‘A lot of urban artists were being dropped and there was general confusion of viability of urban music.’
    • ‘It snowballed from pirates and urban stations to the mainstream shows it's getting played on now.’
    • ‘I think of all these styles as being forms of modern urban folk music.’
    • ‘Based on sales, it explores the best in rock, urban, dance and indie music.’
    • ‘It's a fact that the UK's urban music scene produces blistering talent that just cannot be ignored.’
    • ‘Remember, many an urban music legend started out playing to their teddy bears.’
    • ‘Like most in the urban music scene Michael is frustrated by the lack of support shown to homegrown acts in the UK.’
    1. 2.1 Denoting popular black culture in general.
      ‘an urban comedy’
      ‘urban clothing and street wear’
      • ‘Like Byrne, all these writers understand the dark comedy that emerges from tough urban experience.’
      • ‘He looked out of place and his use of urban street lingo was confusing.’
      • ‘The only female in the group was clad in a pair of urban camouflaged trousers, fingerless gloves and a black vest.’
      • ‘Their songs spoke of the black urban experience with a directness seldom heard before.’
      • ‘I believe we had tapped into a culture - the very urban world of street racing.’
      • ‘This urban contemporary collection keeps things in perspective with simple forms, clean lines and subtle shapes.’
      • ‘Hunter's dialogue is urban contemporary and quick, and the story his characters tell makes one think about the consequences that result from the choices we can make.’
      • ‘It is the music of young urban Britain-both black and white. Much of garage is no more than commercial pop music.’
      • ‘The accompanying music is pretty standard urban fare, with a touch of reggae thrown in for good measure.’
      • ‘It is precisely this shift in thought, this disconnect between urban contemporary life and nature that Green hopes to remedy.’
      • ‘It wasn't only us who were keen to throw off our city suits and urban combat trousers.’
      • ‘Do you feel an ethnic evolution is occurring in the urban scene and what will you do for this important cause?’
      • ‘Our ultimate goal is to teach them how to take orders at the front counter while talking to customers in hip urban contemporary slang.’
      • ‘It was much simpler in the old days when everyone had to decorate their homes with the look of the moment, whether it was casual ethnic, urban contemporary, country floral or shabby chic.’
      • ‘If you're looking for some urban streetwear, this is where it's at.’
      • ‘We said we were the best urban magazine.’
      • ‘The term originally referred to stylized speech used by American urban black youth.’
      • ‘The Clothes Show Live is not well known for being a hotbed of urban talent.’
      • ‘Sean, for sure, is still finding himself and enjoying all sides of the urban scene.’


Early 17th century: from Latin urbanus, from urbs, urb- ‘city’.