The Meaning of Suburban: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of suburban? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word suburban, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

What does the word suburban mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word suburban is an adjective relating to a smaller residential community apart from a main city. This residential area usually has a lower population density than inner city areas. Usually a major city or metropolitan area will have suburbs on the outskirts of a city. Many Americans enjoy living in the suburbs of a city. Some forms of outer suburb are even a separate residential community separated by a gate, and one might see a stark distinction between those who live in fancy suburbs and the poverty-stricken inner city. A characteristic of a suburb is many houses on a street. Some even might have their own political or legal jurisdiction and be outside the administrative boundaries of cities. This is more common in the United states, and less common in the United Kingdom, where most cities have an inner suburb in such districts.

 This is different from rural areas which do not have many homes and are more mixed-use for farming or other businesses. In Australian English and South African English, a city suburb has become synonymous and equivalent with the word neighborhood versus America, per Shabdkosh. Suburban has three syllables – sub-ur-ban, and the pronunciation of suburban is səˈbɜːbən. The noun form of suburban is suburb (sub-urb) or suburbia (sub-urb-ia). 

Numerous different languages around the world also contain words that mean suburban. You may notice that many of these translations of suburban look and sound similar to the word suburban. These are called cognates. Cognates are words in different languages that look and sound similar, and these are often formed when two words have the same root or language of origin. This list of translations for the word suburban is provided by Word Sense

  •  Czech: předměstský‎ (masc.)
  •  Hungarian: külvárosi‎
  •  Finnish: esikaupunki-‎
  •  Polish: podmiejski‎
  •  Romanian: suburban‎ (masc.) (n), suburbană‎ (fem.)
  •  French: suburbain‎ (masc.), banlieusard‎ (masc.)
  •  Russian: при́городный‎, за́городный‎
  •  Mandarin: 郊區‎, 郊区‎, 市郊‎
  •  Portuguese: suburbano‎ (masc.), suburbana‎ (fem.)
  •  German: vorstädtisch‎, Vorort‎
  •  Japanese: 郊外‎
  •  Irish: fo-uirbeach‎, bruachbhailteach‎, fo-bhailteach‎
  •  Spanish: suburban‎
  •  Catalan: suburbà‎
  •  Greek: προαστιακός‎ (masc.)

How can the word suburban be used in a sentence?

The word suburban can be used in many different sentences in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize its definition. You can also try making flashcards or quizzes to test your knowledge of the English language and of the definitions of specific words. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today. Below are several examples of the word suburban to get you started incorporating this word into your everyday vocabulary. It might become one of your new favorite words to use!

Sydney lived in a lovely suburban area near Princeton University. In the fall, she loved seeing all of the college kids come to town. She even tried to blend in with them when she was in middle and high school. 

Mickey was sick of living in a random house in a random suburb in the middle of nowhere. She wanted to experience life and move to a big city like New York. She was saving up enough money to pay for a year in an apartment.

The three sisters Talya, Taylor, and Tiana could not be more different. Talya loved living in the city and wanted to go out every night. Taylor enjoyed living in the suburbs where her children could ride their bikes to a friend’s house. Tiana preferred somewhere rural where she could have lots of land and privacy. 

What are synonyms and antonyms of the word suburban?

There are many different words that a person can use in place of the word suburban. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Learning synonyms is a fantastic way to quickly expand your English language vocabulary, and learning these can help you avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms of suburban is provided by Power Thesaurus. 

  •  municipal
  •  central
  •  normal
  •  nonrural
  •  bourgeois
  •  residential
  •  commonplace
  •  suburbia
  •  built-up
  •  urbanized
  •  suburbs
  •  middle-class
  •  provincial
  •  town
  •  borough
  •  suburb
  •  dull
  •  average
  •  country
  •  uninteresting
  •  downtown
  •  city
  •  civil
  •  ordinary
  •  commuter
  •  boring
  •  out-of-town
  •  townish
  •  public
  •  unremarkable
  •  rural
  •  conventional
  •  citified
  •  outskirts
  •  rustic
  •  uptown
  •  oppidan
  •  unexceptional
  •  civic
  •  towny

There are also many different words that mean the opposite of suburban. These opposite words are called antonyms. These are also a great way to expand your English vocabulary. This list of antonyms of suburban is also provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  diocesan
  •  citizen
  •  inner-city
  •  primate
  •  metropolis
  •  midtown
  •  citywide
  •  non-rural
  •  metropolitan
  •  towny
  •  townish
  •  prelate
  •  oppidan
  •  city-born
  •  city boy
  •  townie
  •  city-like
  •  downtown
  •  civic
  •  interurban
  •  urbanized
  •  burghal
  •  densely populated
  •  suffragan
  •  public
  •  borough
  •  city
  •  citified
  •  built-up
  •  pontiff
  •  central
  •  big-city person
  •  townified
  •  nonrural
  •  urban
  •  village
  •  city dweller
  •  bishop
  •  town
  •  exarch
  •  municipal
  •  archbishop
  •  industrial
  •  city-bred
  •  cityfied
  •  cosmopolitan
  •  modern
  •  civil
  •  uptown
  •  urbane

Overall, the word suburban (adj.) means a residential area outside of a city. A suburban area is far different from urban areas. This outlying part of a city comes from the Latin suburbium and Latin suburbānus from ānus. Many people enjoy living in suburban areas because it is quieter and safer. Some, however, feel that they are quite boring and do not enjoy living in suburbs, preferring to live in a city. Other people feel too close to their neighbours in a suburb and prefer to be somewhere more rural with lots of land. 


  1. suburban – Meaning in Tamil | Shabdkosh 
  2. Metropolitan synonyms – 252 Words and Phrases for Metropolitan | Power Thesaurus
  3. Suburban synonyms – 319 Words and Phrases for Suburban | Power Thesaurus  
  4. suburban: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  5. Suburban definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary