Definition of town in English:

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Pronunciation: /toun/


1An urban area that has a name, defined boundaries, and local government, and that is generally larger than a village and smaller than a city.
Example sentences
  • In Namibia reckless individuals occupy erven in residential areas in cities, towns and villages to conduct their unwanted business.
  • They were organized around an exporting economy, and as a result, the major cities dwarfed other towns within the tributary area.
  • In areas where peasants normally congregated, villages became towns and towns became cities.
municipality, township, suburb;
small city, city, burg;
hamlet, village, small town, whistle-stop
1.1The particular town under consideration, especially one’s own town: Carson was in town
More example sentences
  • In town a man ties several dozen eggs on the back of his bike, while a small farmer wheels around the corner with a can of milk on his carrier.
  • In town, maybe you can afford a tiny shed in some dead-end street.
  • In town recently for a reading at Concordia, I decided to ask York about her interest in this subject.
1.2The central part of a neighborhood, with its business or shopping area: Rachel left to drive back into town
More example sentences
  • They had spent the morning redecorating a room, then headed into town for some shopping.
  • They have to come into town to do their shopping and that costs money.
  • I often take a shopping list into town and get the bus straight back empty-handed because I'm so weary.
1.3British dated The chief city or town of a region: he has moved to town
1.4A densely populated area, especially as contrasted with the country or suburbs: the cultural differences between town and country
More example sentences
  • Roman writers, too, had contrasted the corrupt town with the purer virtues of country living.
  • Of course there is still a difference between town and country, but there is not a geographical split.
  • In town, where gardens are usually small and often shady, camellias will appreciate the protection from the sun.
1.5The permanent residents of a college town as distinct from the members of the college: a rift between the city’s town and gown that resulted in a petition to the college Often contrasted with gown.
More example sentences
  • Central Vision has taken this further with its detailed submission as to how a campus at York Central would be good for town and gown.
  • No longer are rivalries between town and gown manifested in destruction, riot and murder.
1.6North American another term for township (sense 3).



go to town

informal Do something thoroughly, enthusiastically, or extravagantly: I thought I’d go to town on the redecoration
More example sentences
  • Don't miss this deep-house extravaganza where I'm sure he'll go to town.
  • This nonsense has been forced on the security staff by the EU, but even more so by the media who went to town on the security arrangements simply because some people were able to breach the security systems at the airport.
  • And here Emma really went to town, playing some superb shots and grabbing her biggest victory in the competition, a conclusive 6-2 win.

on the town

informal Enjoying the entertainments, especially the nightlife, of a city or town: a lot of guys out for a night on the town
More example sentences
  • There were a number of revellers enjoying a night out on the town at the time.
  • The day at the races goes on into the evening as hordes of people head into Liverpool city centre for a chaotic night on the town.
  • A lot of Britons tend to drink a week's worth of alcohol in just one or two nights on the town.



Example sentences
  • She lives alone in the apartment district of the more ‘townish’ area of town, since she has no real family (delicate, sensitive issue).
  • I like the attention - but what I am trying to cling to is kinda small townish and specific.
  • Coming into town off of Route 54, the road gradually gives way to more townish features.


Pronunciation: /ˈtounlət/
Example sentences
  • So we walk through the utterly captivating townlet of Chartres, with its cobbled lanes, old maisons, Italian style piazzas, haute shops and the Eure flowing gently, even a little murkily, at the base of the town.
  • Not far short of the Oregon border, I stopped for a beer at a tiny townlet in a wilderness of sage that had a post office, a tavern and not much else.
  • On the misty September Saturday night in question, Tess makes her way from Chaseborough to a barn in a nearby ‘townlet’ where her fellow Trantridge cottagers are at a ‘private jig’.


Pronunciation: /-wərd/
adjective& adverb
Example sentences
  • As they walked townward, he tried to talk, explaining himself in babbling incoherent spurts.
  • I'm a little surprised that I didn't notice it when I went out about 8.30 am, but I was going in a townward direction.
  • The site slopes steeply from university down to the town, so the glass box is carved into the hill and there are two main entrances, with the upper one three levels above the townward one diametrically opposite in plan.


Pronunciation: /-wərdz/
Example sentences
  • Some drifted townwards, drawn by the prospects of institutional almsgiving, casual employment, or crime.
  • On the hillside, leading townwards, there is one vine close to the other, in seemingly never-ending rows.
  • At this time, the Montpellier grounds extended to Bath Rd and the Imperial walks and drives went as far townwards as the brook or River Chelt.


Old English tūn 'enclosed piece of land, homestead, village', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch tuin 'garden' and German Zaun 'fence'.

  • This originally meant ‘an enclosed piece of ground’ then ‘a farm or estate’, and ‘a collection of houses’. Town gradually grew until by around 1150 it referred to a place of the size we might recognize today as a town. Scandalous gossip has been the talk of the town since the 1620s. See also paint

Words that rhyme with town

brown, Browne, clown, crown, down, downtown, drown, frown, gown, low-down, noun, renown, run-down, upside-down, uptown

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: town

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