Definition of cosmopolitan in US English:



  • 1Including or containing people from many different countries.

    ‘immigration transformed the city into a cosmopolitan metropolis’
    • ‘The latter has been exceptional in midfield, fitting into a cosmopolitan midfield with an ease that has defied his tender years.’
    • ‘It's fitting that ten years on they should be making a television drama, filled to bursting with Scottish talent, which celebrates the vibrant culture of an increasingly cosmopolitan city.’
    • ‘Some of the social practices, that were once part of the proud ancient lifestyle, were now slowly giving way to modern cosmopolitan culture.’
    • ‘London is a cosmopolitan city with a multitude of cultures stemming from its multiracial population.’
    • ‘Chicago also offers the culture and excitement of cosmopolitan metros.’
    • ‘It is not surprising that, as liberal doctrines took hold, trade diasporas declined as the expanding West imposed a cosmopolitan culture on the whole world.’
    • ‘The cosmopolitan culture of the city, the profile of visitors it draws from within and outside the country and the profile of the city itself, makes it so.’
    • ‘Before then, Okinawa had a thriving cosmopolitan maritime culture.’
    • ‘At the core there is affluence, relative security of employment and a cosmopolitan culture based on networking with peers in a global cultural environment.’
    • ‘The top flight, and much of the undercarriage, of football in this country is a cosmopolitan mix of cultures and attitudes.’
    • ‘I love big cities and the rootless cosmopolitan culture that comes with them.’
    • ‘Special attention is give to tensions that run through many of the other chapters, between traditional and modern worlds, elite and mass culture, things cosmopolitan and things French.’
    • ‘This cosmopolitan community is a blend of different cultures, the influences of which are seen in architecture throughout the city.’
    • ‘Jan is an embodiment of a cosmopolitan culture.’
    • ‘It is required only that the other seem anomalous relative to our familiar subculture, however cosmopolitan that may be, in order to generate doubts and questions about what it is that makes him tick.’
    • ‘In the clapboard houses on the tree-lined sidewalks of this cosmopolitan borough, known for its rich culture and vibrant ethnic mix, many would still have been in bed when the peace was shattered forever.’
    • ‘While such a history had horrific implications for the resident population, the long-term impact was a cosmopolitan court culture reacting to influences from all directions.’
    • ‘It claims to be a cosmopolitan town with 150 different nationalities and countless parks.’
    • ‘‘Bradford is a cosmopolitan city and anything that helps the different constituent parts to better understand each other should be welcomed,’ he said.’
    • ‘Hong Kong is larger than you think, more cosmopolitan than you imagine and an eclectic mix of culture and people.’
    international, multiracial, worldwide, global, universal
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    1. 1.1 Familiar with and at ease in many different countries and cultures.
      ‘his knowledge of French, Italian, and Spanish made him genuinely cosmopolitan’
      • ‘‘Ours is a cosmopolitan culture; like an ocean, anything which falls into it melts and becomes a part of it,’ he explains.’
      • ‘But these pretty guys are much more cosmopolitan than just being Aussies, and they don't just speak with Australian accents, however it may sound to the undiscerning ear.’
      • ‘Due to the country's ethnic divisions and prevalent rural traditions, leaders of the newly formed parties, despite their cosmopolitan outlook, did not transcend ethnic affiliations.’
      • ‘He has had a cosmopolitan existence and learned early on how to negotiate different cultures.’
      • ‘But, more seriously, his cosmopolitan upbringing - born in Malta, brought up in Elgin, Berkshire and Hong Kong - has prepared him well for life on the road.’
      • ‘Both of the two speak good English, are very cosmopolitan and have had lots of exposure to Western culture.’
      • ‘Rather, what I want to do is to develop an account of the cosmopolitan respect for differences and to explore what that respect requires when we are engaged in moral debate across the boundaries between nations.’
      • ‘We started to favor people with international, cosmopolitan, or global backgrounds in admissions.’
      • ‘Perhaps new forms of political community which are more respectful of cultural differences and more cosmopolitan than their predecessors will emerge in consequence.’
      • ‘The environment in which it operates is so different, we're much more cosmopolitan and sophisticated.’
      • ‘In all of this there was not the slightest trace of cosmopolitan openness or tolerance of other cultures.’
      • ‘With roots in the eighteenth-century tradition of cosmopolitan rationalism, they enshrine an approach to human affairs which prizes discussion, informed opinion and moral decency.’
      • ‘Yes, this Croatia-born Norwegian psychotherapist and practitioner of alternate medicine is a cosmopolitan citizen in the true sense of the term.’
      • ‘It must have been a daunting task to write the life of this cosmopolitan figure, using documents scattered in several different countries and written in as many languages.’
      • ‘With a master's degree from a British university and years of overseas experience, he is just the type of cosmopolitan go-getter to make it big in the emerging New Economy.’
      • ‘I should define it as a cosmopolitan city, tolerant of different lifestyles, with a good quality environment and cultural activities.’
      • ‘Today's college students are different: they are more cosmopolitan and have many interests.’
      • ‘In addition, the relationship between international or cosmopolitan outlooks, national attitudes, and local patriotism needs clarification.’
      • ‘Some of that admiration has recently been squandered by the behaviour of our major political parties, who regard standing up for cosmopolitan principles as electorally risky and a sign of weakness.’
      • ‘The Australian culture and identity began to change, becoming more cosmopolitan from this point onward.’
      worldly, worldly-wise, well travelled, knowing, aware, mature, seasoned, experienced, unprovincial, cultivated, cultured, sophisticated, suave, urbane, polished, refined
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    2. 1.2 Having an exciting and glamorous character associated with travel and a mixture of cultures.
      ‘their designs became a byword for cosmopolitan chic’
      • ‘I remember my first time in Paris; I was inspired by the culture, the cuisine, the weather, the cosmopolitan feel to every little backroad bar and restaurant.’
      • ‘The tour begins and ends in Addis Ababa with its thriving culture, ancient churches, cosmopolitan eateries and outdoor markets.’
      • ‘Manchester, by comparison, is a gleaming metropolis of cosmopolitan glamour and dodgy haircuts.’
      • ‘His exposure to cosmopolitan learning and popular Western culture has only left him with an impulse towards imitation.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, with more and more people moving into apartment blocks and embracing a fast-track cosmopolitan life, this practice is slowly being pushed into oblivion.’
      • ‘He was familiar with the cosmopolitan destiny of an heir of a great European family.’
      • ‘Shuffling among three or four different cultures, they had a cosmopolitan flair and range that put the parochialism of the British to shame.’
      • ‘He overcame the culture shock from the cosmopolitan, colourful world he saw there, and stayed for six years.’
      • ‘A wired world with roots in the air instead of the soil does not in and of itself add up to a cosmopolitan culture.’
      • ‘It's almost as though we're seeing a mix of cinematic cultures to mirror the cosmopolitan nature of New York.’
      • ‘It caters to that all-night party-hard, cosmopolitan scene with 24-hour cafes that have grilled meats, fish and salad.’
      • ‘Any hint or vestige of western culture, or perhaps it should be called ‘global cosmopolitan culture,’ was taboo.’
      • ‘This incorporates its cosmopolitan culture, fun atmosphere, clean environment, and hassle-free travel.’
      • ‘Bombay has a very complex cosmopolitan culture.’
      • ‘Donatella leads a cosmopolitan life, travelling in Ireland, Israel, Italy and Switzerland.’
      • ‘The career of Bernardo Bellotto argues for a more cosmopolitan image and the abiding strength of Italian centres of culture.’
      • ‘Though Ritu may be tracing the path back to the popular ‘hippy’ culture, the look is more cosmopolitan, she says.’
      • ‘Instead of passing off urban provincialism as cosmopolitan chic, or rural provincialism as ancient culture, let's have a hard look at what we have to sell.’
      • ‘It would show how the cosmopolitan culture of the city led to creation of some of the finest works of art there.’
      • ‘It is dense because the map of the festival merely draws attention to what is already a dense, cosmopolitan music culture, known throughout the world as Chicago blues or urban blues.’
  • 2(of a plant or animal) found all over the world.

    • ‘Tenebrio molitor, or yellow mealworm beetle, is a cosmopolitan pest of stored grains that can be easily reared in the laboratory.’
    • ‘Only about 13 per cent of the continental shelves were covered by the sea, probably as a result of the expansion of the ocean basins, and the marine faunas there seem to have been strongly cosmopolitan.’
    • ‘This species is cosmopolitan, occupying Boreal and transitional associations.’
    • ‘Despite their overall abundance and cosmopolitan distribution, the Tardigrada have been relatively neglected by invertebrate zoologists.’
    • ‘it is cosmopolitan fungus with the main habitat apparently on the aerial parts of plants.’
    • ‘The nodosaur is very similar to species known from Wyoming and Kansas, which supports the idea that dinosaurs on the west coast were part of a cosmopolitan fauna rather than a unique regional group.’
    • ‘The barn owl too - a cosmopolitan species in the global sense - is another established city dweller, though now perhaps, some cities are proving to be too inhospitable to it.’
    • ‘Whilst the spread of cosmopolitans at the expense of endemics would reduce diversity on a global scale, a regional effect would only become noticeable if a cosmopolitan species replaces two or more endemics.’
    • ‘D. simulans is a cosmopolitan species largely commensal with humans, while D. mauritiana is restricted to the island of Mauritius.’
    • ‘The species is cosmopolitan, but in the last 150 years it has expanded its distribution and increased its density dramatically in the United States.’
    • ‘Only the cosmopolitan syrphid fly Eristalis tenax was captured on two occasions carrying the four pollinia attached to the mouthparts.’
    • ‘Cottonwoods are a cosmopolitan tree, often overlooked in the wooded eastern states before growing dominant in the open country west of the 100th Meridian.’
    • ‘One group, the cosmopolitan or ecologically generalist species, includes 10-12 species.’
    • ‘This incidentally was also a time of cosmopolitan brachiopod and fish distribution.’
    • ‘Sea urchins, like bivalve molluscs, are cosmopolitan in their distribution.’
    • ‘Katsuwonus pelamis, a cosmopolitan fish of the tuna family, is common in the warm waters of the Indo-Pacific and Atlantic, but less so in the Mediterranean.’
    • ‘The hundred million years and more of Pangean history saw a succession of cosmopolitan animal dynasties spread over the entire supercontinent.’
    • ‘Black-crowned Night-Herons are a cosmopolitan species, nesting on every continent except Australia and Antarctica.’
    • ‘The success of this cosmopolitan mollusk has much to do with its prowess as a swash rider.’
    • ‘It is a small, cosmopolitan, and prudent animal.’


  • 1A cosmopolitan person.

    • ‘The cosmopolitans are able to project their vision out from New York and Hollywood, but people aren't listening anymore.’
    • ‘It is easy to be a liberal cosmopolitan in Paris or New York.’
    • ‘He is a paid-up cosmopolitan but is irritated by ‘a lazy or laissez-faire feel-good multiculturalism.’’
    • ‘Too English for the cosmopolitans, too traditional for the modernists, too religious for the secular and too dowdy for the jet set, the Three Choirs now finds it hard to claim a place in the charmed circle.’
    • ‘Yet what is particularly odd about his writing is that, at the turn of the 21st century, he identifies with those orphaned cosmopolitans retrospectively.’
    • ‘‘What we now see is division between the cosmopolitans and conservatives,’ he says.’
    • ‘Its elites have become liberal multicultural cosmopolitans.’
    • ‘But he insists on painting a picture with the same old hackneyed images and rancid cliches about salt-of-the-earth heartlanders and morally vacant or cowardly coastal cosmopolitans.’
    • ‘It is a cultural vessel, filled with the identity of whichever particular international cosmopolitans happen to be occupying it at the time.’
    • ‘It is one of those books that holds up a mirror to the English, written by a cosmopolitan with sufficient detachment and a good literary style, which is needed - because we change quite quickly nowadays.’
    • ‘So it was probably fortunate for these cosmopolitans that, just at this moment, after centuries of collecting and connoisseurship, a rigorously beaux-arts practice was finally established by Manet.’
    • ‘He is the classic rootless cosmopolitan.’
    • ‘He had no time for nationalists; the well-travelled Carr was the true cosmopolitan among our senior composers.’
    • ‘When I say we were all cosmopolitans, I'm not thinking of forced emigration, the theme of so much of our cultural pathos.’
    • ‘Many critics who introduce these reasons are themselves moderate cosmopolitans, wishing to demonstrate that there are special obligations to fellow-citizens in addition to general duties to the community of all human beings.’
    • ‘On the one hand we have the nationalists with a lot of xenophobia, people who want to live with their mirror images; on the other hand there are the cosmopolitans, people who are willing to live with others coming from different backgrounds.’
    • ‘He writes about the divide in society between the elites, who are cosmopolitans, and the mass of citizens, who are nationalists.’
    • ‘The extent of the realignment is shown by the shift in voting behaviour on the part of cosmopolitans and populists…’
    • ‘Unfortunately, the pamphlet calling for said progressive nationalism only expresses the isolation that the cosmopolitans feel from the rest of society, without really explaining how it could be overcome.’
    • ‘The result perhaps was not a ‘carnival’ as much as a confluence of cultural conflicts played against an artistic practice of exiles and cosmopolitans.’
  • 2A plant or animal found all over the world.

    • ‘This is in accordance with many previous studies, which have noted that endemics tend to be more susceptible to extinction than cosmopolitans.’
    • ‘Insect taxonomists, describing the cosmopolitans, have carefully spelled out their breeding sites.’
    • ‘Similarly, when calculating extinction rates we distinguished between extinction of endemics, local extinction of cosmopolitans, and global extinction of cosmopolitans.’
    • ‘The contribution of endemics and cosmopolitans to origination and extinction rates calculated per million years is shown in Fig.2.’
    • ‘Hallam plotted the number of European Jurassic bivalve species against their estimated stratigraphic range without distinguishing between endemics and cosmopolitans.’
    • ‘Giving equal weight to cosmopolitans effectively swamps the importance of the endemic genera by their ratio of 9: 83, or 1: 9.2.’
  • 3A cocktail typically made with vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice, and lime juice.

    • ‘Grab a cosmopolitan, put on a swingy kind of skirt, and dance.’
    • ‘Take two cosmopolitans and call your astrologer in the morning.’
    • ‘There's so much drama in the complex, and one night we were sitting around with cosmopolitans in our hands and decided to make a show based on the people we love and hate in the building.’
    • ‘You're dying to share some cosmopolitans with him.’
    • ‘Best enjoyed with early evening cosmopolitans, this album suddenly started making renewed sense all over again while we were on holiday.’
    • ‘Flag yourself after a few cosmopolitans and carefully stagger your way home.’
    • ‘Over there, in the snugs that line the wall, they will be sipping cosmopolitans, waiting for someone interesting to come over and start a conversation.’
    • ‘Reduce your nightly intake of cosmopolitans to one from three.’
    • ‘Years of exposure to late-night anxiety-riddled chain-smoking fits, stuffy business parties, cosmopolitans at noon, pressed suits, and neglect left me more mature than most when high school began.’
    • ‘They mix a selection of Martinis and cosmopolitans while the choice of cognacs and scotch is one of the best in town.’
    • ‘Ally grabbed her cosmopolitan from Justin and took a sip of it, still waiting for Calvin to answer her.’
    • ‘You can just sit here all night and order cosmopolitans.’
    • ‘Among those socialising around the club, and enjoying cosmopolitans, included stylists, a model, and a publisher.’
    • ‘Later on it fills up with a less work-focused crowd who like fine cosmopolitans poured by attentive staff, and late-night boogying to the live bands.’
    • ‘She smelled like coconut, strawberry lip-gloss, and the cosmopolitans she had drank with Tiffany earlier.’
    • ‘Ideal first-date, ready-for-romance territory, try one of their pitch-perfect cosmopolitans on a comfy inside couch or sample great Mediterranean fare on their spacious terrace.’
    • ‘The music was pumping, the troopers were still partying from the day/night before and we, somewhat foolishly, ordered multiple cosmopolitans… which were served, of course, in the largest martini glasses known to mankind.’
    • ‘Fortunately, that problem is easily remedied by a few cosmopolitans.’
    • ‘I had the best cosmopolitans I've ever had there!’
    • ‘It's the place where I learned how to make and drink cosmopolitans, mojitos, and Martinis.’


Mid 17th century (as a noun): from cosmopolite + -an.