Definition of metropolitan in US English:



  • 1Relating to or denoting a metropolis, often inclusive of its surrounding areas.

    ‘the Boston metropolitan area’
    • ‘Leeds is a city in the metropolitan borough of the City of Leeds in West Yorkshire in the north of England.’
    • ‘Such a letter is calculated to mislead, purposely or otherwise, those who are not familiar with Bradford City or its metropolitan area.’
    • ‘Yet the change is not happening evenly and is much more apparent and much more rapid in cities, especially in metropolitan areas and on the two coasts.’
    • ‘Serving larger school districts in metropolitan areas can also require careful logistical planning for deliveries.’
    • ‘Two hundred surveys also were sent to people randomly selected from the Internet, from small rural areas to large metropolitan cities.’
    • ‘Several studies have found that violent crime is higher in American metropolitan areas where the distribution of income is more unequal.’
    • ‘Print and framing shops can be found in every mall, many strip shopping centers, and tucked away in old city shopping areas in every metropolitan community in America.’
    • ‘The military also was used increasingly in domestic law enforcement, even extending to a regular military presence in high-crime areas of major metropolitan cities.’
    • ‘Water restrictions were imposed on Saturday in the metropolitan area and in towns and properties fed by the Goldfields pipeline.’
    • ‘Towns in metropolitan areas, however, have been able to take advantage of this by consolidating their authority over discrete services.’
    • ‘For decades, center cities of metropolitan areas were regarded as the growth engines of their suburbs.’
    • ‘The metropolitan grouping reflects urban areas and a fully functioning tiered health care system with ready access to tertiary care.’
    • ‘I understand that this Index works best in smaller towns and more rural areas away from metropolitan conurbations.’
    • ‘But he said primary schools in Rochdale still received less money than the schools in other metropolitan boroughs and the council was looking to increase the amount.’
    • ‘The options for this include picking specific cities, metropolitan areas, or even a distance radius from a specific point.’
    • ‘This will help the rural people from these villages to take their products to nearby towns and metropolitan cities where there is a market for their products.’
    • ‘Both the core city and the surrounding metropolitan area lost population in the 2000 census.’
    • ‘Kansas City is a metropolitan area with very clear racial dividing lines.’
    • ‘It is now possible to transfer a licence from a rural area to metropolitan and city centre locations for the purpose of establishing a new licensed premises.’
    • ‘But yesterday, in a stroke, a perhaps equivalent population was subtracted from the city and the metropolitan area.’
    civic, civil, urban, city, town, borough, community, district, local, council, public
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  • 2Relating to or denoting the parent state of a colony or dependency.

    ‘metropolitan Spain’
    • ‘While bureaucracy and inertia ruled in metropolitan France, service in the colonies offered challenge and responsibility, providing a shaft of light which helped illuminate the army even in its darkest days.’
    • ‘In some cases the laws were enacted by the local society, including resident slaveowners; in others it was imposed by the metropolitan government to control slavery in distant colonies.’
    • ‘A number of overseas possessions remain part of metropolitan France and send MPs to the national assembly.’
    • ‘The French considered Algeria to be part of metropolitan France, not a colony, and over a million French citizens lived there.’
    • ‘For the idea of development which was framed in the nineteenth century at the metropolitan centre of Europe as well as in the peripheral colonies, had this object at its centre from the outset.’
    • ‘And whereas, its decision made, the Assembly passed on to pressing metropolitan business, the impact on the colony itself was volcanic.’
    • ‘Algeria had been conquered in 1830 and transformed into a French colony administered as if it were metropolitan France.’
    • ‘In monarchies and in democracies, in metropolitan Europe as well as in colonial South Asia, the state management of forests has met bitter and continuous opposition.’
    state, national, federal, government
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  • 3Christian Church
    Relating to or denoting a metropolitan or his see.

    ‘a metropolitan bishop’
    • ‘In the Catholic Church, metropolitan priests generally outnumber Antillean.’
    • ‘By the 5th cent. ad the title was applied to the occupants of sees of major ecclesiastical importance, particularly those of metropolitan bishops.’
    • ‘The new prosperity of the cities made the metropolitan bishops significant figures in art patronage in the 13th and 14th centuries.’
    • ‘The churches in both kingdoms acknowledged the Coptic patriarch as their head and he consecrated their metropolitan bishops.’
    • ‘A patriarchal election council chose metropolitan bishop Kiril of Plovdiv for Bulgarian patriarch.’


  • 1Christian Church
    A bishop having authority over the bishops of a province, in particular (in many Orthodox Churches) one ranking above archbishop and below patriarch.

    • ‘By an anomaly, however, none of the ten bishops had the status of archbishop or metropolitan.’
    • ‘Bishops and metropolitans lead the 128 dioceses.’
    • ‘Specifically, the Board urges a revival of the oversight role of metropolitans, i.e., archbishops overseeing bishops in their province.’
    • ‘I grabbed his hand, bowed low, and kissed the great ring of the archbishop of Chicago, metropolitan of Illinois, and cardinal priest of the Roman Catholic Church.’
    • ‘Archbishop David Crawley, metropolitan of British Columbia and the Yukon, said that two cases were about to come before the Supreme Court in British Columbia.’
  • 2An inhabitant of a metropolis.

    ‘the sophisticated metropolitan’
    • ‘I couldn't very well leave a lady at such a time. We small towners are yet to learn the impersonality of metropolitans.’
    • ‘They're just like the Irish metropolitans in that respect.’
    • ‘I don't mean to suggest that England is a land of trendy metropolitans, but even so it is inconceivable that our political and social debates should be hijacked by religious zealots.’
    • ‘I'm sure the good folks out in the sticks have known plenty of rich metropolitans in their day.’
    • ‘These days, of course, such ideas seem to us mature metropolitans ludicrous and paleolithic.’
    • ‘Lewis in terms of his art was a metropolitan in search of the visceral and his analysis of the life force was forensic in its intensity.’
    • ‘Then I thought about what other metropolitans have experienced in terms of transportation and population problems along with hazards to the environment.’
    • ‘So many Dubs on a May Monday in Killarney - surely proof that as far the metropolitans are concerned it's still Kerry for the holidays.’
    • ‘No, the outsize and eccentric figures of the Empire have passed into history, and now the establishment is filled with dull corporatist metropolitans.’
    • ‘Who now remembers the days in that glorious decade, the 1990s, when all self-respecting metropolitans felt the need to bluff their way in conversations about ‘postmodernism’?’


Late Middle English (in the ecclesiastical sense): from late Latin metropolitanus, from Greek mētropolitēs ‘citizen of a mother state’, from mētropolis (see metropolis).