• synonyms


[hahr-luh m]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
  1. a section of New York City, in the NE part of Manhattan.
  2. a tidal river in New York City, between the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx, which, with Spuyten Duyvil Creek, connects the Hudson and East rivers. 8 miles (13 km) long.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for harlem

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Never nearer than Harlem Heights, where he lay with his regiment.

    The Contrast

    Royall Tyler

  • It was as if a dweller in a Harlem flat had been presented with a hippopotamus.


    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Then we moved to Harlem and I rented this place for the summer.


    James Huneker

  • Yet in Harlem there was a broken old man who would not like it.

    The Paliser case

    Edgar Saltus

  • But, as Harlem receded, it had ridden higher and brightened in the ride.

    The Paliser case

    Edgar Saltus

British Dictionary definitions for harlem


  1. a district of New York City, in NE Manhattan: now largely a Black ghetto
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for harlem


Manhattan district, used figuratively for "African-American culture" from 1934. The N.Y. community was founded 1658 and originally named Nieuw Haarlem for Haarlem in Netherlands, which probably is from Dutch haar "height" + lem "silt," in reference to its position on a slight elevation on the banks of the Spaarne River.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

harlem in Culture


Neighborhood of Manhattan.


Mostly populated by African-Americans, Harlem has long been a center of black culture.


During the 1920s, Harlem was the site of a great upsurge in black literature, music, and theater known as the Harlem Renaissance.


The area now contains a large Puerto Rican population and, after a period of economic decay, has experienced a revitalization.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.