Definition of metropolis in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /mɪˈtrɒp(ə)lɪs/


1The capital or chief city of a country or region: he preferred the peaceful life of the countryside to the bustle of the metropolis
More example sentences
  • Lagado is the capital metropolis of Balnibari, the continent of the land of Laputa.
  • I had expected to escape the bustle of the metropolis and soak in the undisturbed beauty of nature.
  • City centers, especially in the nation's biggest metropolises, have become hosts to resurgent capital markets.
capital (city), chief town, state/regional/provincial capital, county town, county borough, administrative centre
1.1A very large and busy city: by the late eighteenth century Edo had grown to a metropolis with a population of nearly one million
More example sentences
  • It was a rather dreary day outside, which really wasn't unusual in the busy metropolis of San Francisco.
  • Currently, 28 per cent of our population is urban, residing in 23 metropolises with a population of more than one million each, and five mega cities with a population of more than five million each.
  • In its heyday, the urban sketch was a byproduct of the concurrent rise of newspapers and population growth in metropolises.
big city, conurbation, megalopolis, urban sprawl, concrete jungle
informal big smoke
archaic wen


Late Middle English (denoting the see of a metropolitan bishop): via late Latin from Greek mētropolis 'mother state', from mētēr, mētr- 'mother' + polis 'city'.

  • police from Late Middle English:

    In the 15th century police, which came from medieval Latin politia ‘citizenship, government’, was another word for policy, from the same source. Over time the word came to mean ‘civil administration’ and then ‘maintenance of public order’. The first people to be called police in the current sense was the Marine Police, a force set up around 1798 to protect merchant shipping in the Port of London. The police force established for London in 1829 was for some time known as the New Police. See also constable, copper. Latin politia had been borrowed from Greek polis ‘city, state’, also found in metropolis (Late Middle English) ‘mother city’ in Greek; acropolis (mid 17th century)‘high city’; cosmopolitan (mid 17th century) from kosmos, ‘world’; and politics. We have the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle to thank for politics. Aristotle, a pupil of Plato and tutor to Alexander the Great, wrote a treatise called ta politika, or ‘The Affairs of State’, which gave us our word. The concept of political correctness originated in the USA during the 1980s but the expression dates back a lot longer. It is recorded in 1840 in the USA, and politically correct goes back even further, to 1793, in the records of the US Supreme Court. Originally both terms referred to people conforming to the prevailing political views of the time.

Words that rhyme with metropolis

acropolis, cosmopolis, Heliopolis, megalopolis, necropolis

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: me¦trop|olis

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Related Words