Definition of cosmopolitan in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˌkäzməˈpälətn/


1Familiar with and at ease in many different countries and cultures: his knowledge of French, Italian, and Spanish made him genuinely cosmopolitan
More example sentences
  • Perhaps new forms of political community which are more respectful of cultural differences and more cosmopolitan than their predecessors will emerge in consequence.
  • He has had a cosmopolitan existence and learned early on how to negotiate different cultures.
  • ‘Ours is a cosmopolitan culture; like an ocean, anything which falls into it melts and becomes a part of it,’ he explains.
worldly, worldly-wise, well travelled, experienced, unprovincial, cultivated, cultured, sophisticated, suave, urbane, glamorous, fashionable, stylish
informal jet-setting, cool, hip, styling/stylin'
1.1Including people from many different countries: immigration transformed the city into a cosmopolitan metropolis
More example sentences
  • The latter has been exceptional in midfield, fitting into a cosmopolitan midfield with an ease that has defied his tender years.
  • 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.
  • 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.
multicultural, multiracial, international, worldwide, global
1.2Having an exciting and glamorous character associated with travel and a mixture of cultures: their designs became a byword for cosmopolitan chic
More example sentences
  • Donatella leads a cosmopolitan life, travelling in Ireland, Israel, Italy and Switzerland.
  • 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.
  • He was familiar with the cosmopolitan destiny of an heir of a great European family.
1.3(Of a plant or animal) found all over the world.
Example sentences
  • Cottonwoods are a cosmopolitan tree, often overlooked in the wooded eastern states before growing dominant in the open country west of the 100th Meridian.
  • Tenebrio molitor, or yellow mealworm beetle, is a cosmopolitan pest of stored grains that can be easily reared in the laboratory.
  • 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.


1A cosmopolitan person.
Example sentences
  • He writes about the divide in society between the elites, who are cosmopolitans, and the mass of citizens, who are nationalists.
  • 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.
  • 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.
1.1A cosmopolitan organism or species.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • Hallam plotted the number of European Jurassic bivalve species against their estimated stratigraphic range without distinguishing between endemics and cosmopolitans.
2A cocktail typically made with vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice, and lime juice.
Example sentences
  • It's the place where I learned how to make and drink cosmopolitans, mojitos, and Martinis.
  • They mix a selection of Martinis and cosmopolitans while the choice of cognacs and scotch is one of the best in town.
  • 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.



Pronunciation: /ˌkäzməˈpälətnˌizəm/
Example sentences
  • They even provide a kind of back-door cosmopolitanism, ensuring that many people will learn something about diverse areas of the world, regardless of whether they are much interested in doing so.
  • For many people this was an unknown world, yet they left the museum surprised by the cultural wealth and cosmopolitanism of Iran and Central Asia, where most of the works shown were made.
  • The classical skyscraper is one of Gotham's gifts to the world, the urbane expression of its technical genius, wealth, and confident cosmopolitanism.


Pronunciation: /-ˌīz/
Example sentences
  • All that now exists is the new France, the new Germany, and the new Britain: no longer nation-states but transnational states that have been cosmopolitanized from within.
  • Twenty or thirty years ago German, Russian, Czech and English music all sounded different, now it has become unified, more cosmopolitanized.
  • I would have him go to Andover or Groton, thence to Harvard or Princeton, and put in a year at Oxford or Cambridge, the last to Anglicize, cosmopolitanize, and polish him a bit.


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

  • 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 cosmopolitan

megalopolitan, metropolitan, Neapolitan

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cos·mo·pol·i·tan

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.