Urban Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

Do you know the meaning of urban or where it came from? Not to worry, we’ll tell you. Read on to discover our complete guide on the term urban.

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Chances are you’ve heard of the term urban before — after all, it’s just about everywhere these days. From the concrete jungle to the name of a popular dictionary (AKA, UrbanDictionary.com), urban is a word that’s no stranger to the modern lexicon. But what does it mean? We’ll tell you. 

In this post, we’re exploring the word urban to uncover its definition, origin, synonyms, antonyms, and more. So if you’ve ever wondered what urban means or where it came from, keep reading. Here’s our complete guide on the word urban. 

What Is the Definition of Urban?

According to the Collins Dictionary, the word urban means belonging to or relating to a city or town. That said, the words “city” and “town” are often used inconsistently.

If a town is large enough, it can be considered an urban area. Communities where people live outside cities are referred to as suburban. You see, the word “urban” is from the Latin urbanus and urbs, meaning “city.”

Still confused? Not to worry — let’s take a look at another definition of the word urban. According to the Bureau of the Census, urban is defined as comprising all territory, population, and housing units located in urbanized areas (UAs) and in places of 2,500 or more inhabitants outside of urbanized areas (UAs). 

In its most basic definition, urban is simply a characteristic of the city or city life.

What Are Synonyms and Antonyms of Urban?

To help you better grasp the meaning of urban, let’s open up a thesaurus and take a look at the word’s synonyms and antonyms. In short, synonyms are words or phrases with the same or a similar meaning, whereas antonyms are words or phrases with opposite meanings. 

Synonyms of urban include:

  • City
  • Town
  • Megalopolitan
  • Civic
  • Public
  • Central City
  • Citified
  • Civil
  • Downtown
  • Central
  • Inner-city
  • Citified
  • Burghal

Antonyms of urban include:

  • Country
  • Rural
  • Suburban
  • Bucolic
  • Agricultural
  • Rustic
  • Countrified
  • Pastoral
  • Farm

Related Words and Phrases You Should Know

As you widen your understanding of the word urban, you’ll likely come across a ton of new terms. So, to prevent any confusion, we’ve put together a list of related words and phrases for you to review below: 

  • Urbanization — The process by which rural communities grow to form cities and, by extension, the growth, and expansion of those cities. 
  • Urbanized Areas (UAs) — A continuously built-up area with a population of 50,000 or more. 
  • Urbanism — Life within the city; the culture or way of life of city dwellers.
  • Cultural Evolution — Sociocultural evolution is the development of one or more cultures from simpler to more complex forms.  
  • Urban Development — The construction on land of improvements for residential, commercial, institutional, transportation, industrial, public flood control, and recreational and similar uses. This is in contrast to the use of the land for growing crops, grazing farm animals, and other agricultural pursuits.
  • Urban Renewal — The redevelopment of areas within a large city, typically involving the clearance of slums.

Examples of Urban Used in a Sentence

Now that you understand what urban means, it’s time to practice using the word of the day in a sentence. 

Quiz yourself to see how many sentences you can come up with on your own, or review our usage examples below:

This town is governed by an urban district council.

The urban half of the population have no opportunity to farm.

Among the many slang terms, urban is one that doesn’t really make any sense to me.

Did you know that over 80 percent of Texans live in urban areas?

My teacher mentioned that the urban population is increasing.

Believe it or not, Pope Urban (disambiguation) is the name of several popes of the Catholic Church.

The TV show gave a harrowing depiction of life in an urban slum.

It certainly took a while, but I’ve finally gotten used to urban life.

Most of the people I know live in urban areas.

It’s no good saying that the problem doesn’t exist, and that it’s a modern urban myth or perception and not reality.

I love the urban photography that’s often displayed in the New York Times.

According to his posted pictures on social media, he lives in the Urban Jungle.

The romper that I wanted last month from Urban Outfitters is trending.

Traffic is a huge problem here in the urban jungle of New York.

Some experts believe that three-quarters of the world’s population will be urban by 2050.


TL;DR, urban means: of, relating to, or in a town or city

When referring to populated areas, the word urban is a great word to use; however, it’s often poorly defined. In general, an urban area is a human settlement with a high population density and infrastructure of the built environment. 

Created through urbanization, urban areas (UAs) are often categorized by urban morphology as towns, cities, conurbations, or suburbs.  

We hope this guide has provided you with a clear understanding of the word urban. If you’d like to discover more new words, we suggest checking out our website. 

In addition to interesting terminology, you’ll also find helpful tips and useful tools to help strengthen your overall vocabulary and sharpen your grammar skills.


  1. Dictionary Definition of Urban | The Collins Dictionary
  2. The Urban and Rural Classifications | US Census
  3. URBAN JUNGLE : definition in the | Cambridge English Dictionary