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open city

a city that, during a war, is officially declared demilitarized and open to occupation, and that will consequently not be defended, in order to spare it, under international law, from bombardment or other military attack.
a city or autonomous city-state that gives equal access and status to inhabitants and visitors without regard to religious, ethnic, racial, or national affiliation.
Origin of open city
First recorded in 1910-15 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for open city
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Historical Examples
  • On this date the Germans threw more than 2,000 shells into the open city of Rheims, killing several of the civilian population.

  • General Braze was at work with his men in the open city, clearing away the ugly signs of battle.

    Truxton King George Barr McCutcheon
  • However, Brussels is an open city and it is a question if we would be as well off there as here in this strongly fortified place.

    Lige on the Line of March

    Glenna Lindsley Bigelow
  • At Rome, finding himself helpless in an open city, the emperor conceived the idea of invoking the power of the supernatural.

  • In Europe, it has long been a rule of military morals, that no open city shall ever be bombarded.

  • An hour later he approached the second or open city of Aisi, where the ferry was across the channel.

    After London Richard Jefferies
  • In my great-grandfather's time there had been no roof here; the open city was exposed to all the inclement weather.

    Wandl the Invader Raymond King Cummings

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