Definition of urbanity in English:



  • 1Courteousness and refinement of manner.

    ‘that polished urbanity of his’
    • ‘And it is because he followed these instructions with such urbanity, wit, and sophistication, Hale argues, that Milton provided a particular pleasure to his readers and was so successful in refuting his opponent.’
    • ‘Roussel was one of the great individualists of the 20th century, the punchy urbanity of much of his music frequently seeming at odds with the reclusive persona he cultivated later in life.’
    • ‘I suspect that much of their puerile resentment stems from their inability to comprehend, let alone match, the erudition, wit, and urbanity of the Professor.’
    • ‘Although Siaguru's urbanity and often sarcastic wit will make the book engaging reading for Europeans with a concern for the fate of the nation, I suspect it will be less attractive for all but a handful of Melanesian readers.’
    • ‘For all his urbanity and good manners, it wasn't a particularly impressive performance.’
    • ‘As an added bonus, one had to be equipped with the necessary skills and urbanity to negotiate chopsticks, rendering it elitist food and thus inherently appealing to fashion industry types.’
    • ‘It's not threatening urbanity, high culture and tolerance.’
    • ‘Modern European languages such as French and English became symbols of modernity, in particular of the newly emergent European nation-states, at the same time as they were associated with urbanity, finery, and higher social status.’
    • ‘Subsequently, under a variety of international influences, his work gained in urbanity what it lost in force and originality.’
    • ‘We all got to see how professional he was on the air, and sometimes his urbanity could be mistaken for a certain distance, but in fact, he was a very sensitive, warm, decent man who cared passionately for what he did, for what all of us do.’
    • ‘His urbanity and sophistication are understandably far removed from the rangy youth rampaging around Edinburgh punk rock clubs with a Jean Paul Sartre novel tucked into the back pocket of his ripped trousers.’
    • ‘All these amenities suggest a degree of affluence and urbanity remarkable for a country village in northern New Hampshire during the first half of the nineteenth century.’
    • ‘The room is sleek, but has a relaxed feel when it's full of customers, and this urbanity comes through in the food.’
    • ‘It was only with a man of such urbanity and diplomacy that Cukor could fully relax beside a tape recorder.’
    • ‘There's another quote about him that I like that says he was known for ‘his wit and for the urbanity of his manners and his keen relish of social enjoyments’.’
    • ‘His modesty, urbanity and frankness were at once apparent; at the same time his sound sense, and the touch of humour or flash of wit with which he would often enliven a formal conversation, made him singularly attractive.’
    suaveness, sophistication, worldliness, elegance, cultivation, culture, civilization, breeding, smoothness, polish, refinement, poise, self-possession, dignity
    courtesy, politeness, civility, mannerliness, manners, gentlemanliness, gallantry, courtliness, graciousness, charm, affability, tact, diplomacy, soft skills
    View synonyms
  • 2Urban life.

    ‘a picture of banal urbanity’
    • ‘The architects' aim is to create vertical urbanity, with public and private spaces, conference rooms, a cafeteria, and library and internal gardens to clean and oxygenate the air.’
    • ‘It is not so difficult to see why in the old tales our grandmothers told us God chooses to reveal himself on mountains, far removed from the chaos of urbanity.’
    • ‘It is a style that is rooted in tradition and the exotic, yet reflects the dynamism of modern urbanity.’
    • ‘If metros help preserve urbanity, cars destroy it.’
    • ‘Henen draws on her awareness of middle class urbanity in her work.’
    • ‘Experience will tell whether the admirable notion of creating urbanity by mixing commercial, sporting and educational functions will become a real bit of city.’
    • ‘Larger than New York City's Central Park and forested by more than one million trees, Golden Gate Park is an oasis in the midst of urbanity where one can spend whole days and still not see everything.’
    • ‘A building can be economical and efficient, and have the traditional values of architecture like placedness, psychological succour, urbanity and so on.’
    • ‘That such cosmopolitan urbanity both exists in Croatia and mingles freely with the country's pastoral charm does not surprise Croatians; what surprises them is how slow the rest of the world has been to catch on.’
    • ‘As a representational act, landscape architecture has a responsibility to further the discourse on contemporary notions of nature and urbanity.’
    • ‘Even Paris - long the symbol of centralized urbanity - has experienced a pronounced outward movement.’
    • ‘The graphic city sections take you on a more detailed tour through shop signs, manhole covers and the other unfamiliar objects of urbanity.’
    • ‘It was occasionally used for motor racing: a more bizarre conjunction of urbanity and sport can scarcely be imagined - but then the city was one of the great motor manufacturing centres of the world.’
    • ‘From Stockholm to Milan, arcades, winter gardens, train sheds and other innovative forms of public building added new dimensions to urbanity.’


Mid 16th century: from French urbanité or Latin urbanitas, from urbanus belonging to the city (see urban).