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[suhb-urb] /ˈsʌb ɜrb/
a district lying immediately outside a city or town, especially a smaller residential community.
the suburbs, the area composed of such districts.
an outlying part.
Origin of suburb
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin suburbium, equivalent to sub- sub- + urb(s) city + -ium -ium
Related forms
suburbed, adjective
unsuburbed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for suburbs
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • So presently he had them in a carriage and bowling through the streets which led toward the suburbs.

    The Second Violin Grace S. Richmond
  • It is situated on a sandy plain, and the suburbs are comparatively few.

    Four Young Explorers Oliver Optic
  • There was scarcely any sunshine, and every now and then a gloomy haze, like the smoke in London suburbs, invaded us.

    More Pages from a Journal Mark Rutherford
  • "All that can be seen from here is the suburbs," said the guide, in an offended tone.

    Dona Perfecta B. Perez Galdos
  • She has hired a van and ridden about the suburbs pretending to sell domestic articles.

    An Ocean Tramp William McFee
British Dictionary definitions for suburbs


a residential district situated on the outskirts of a city or town
Derived Forms
suburbed, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin suburbium, from sub- close to + urbs a city
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
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Word Origin and History for suburbs



mid-14c., "residential area outside a town or city," from Old French suburbe, from Latin suburbium "an outlying part of a city," from sub "below, near" (see sub-) + urbs (genitive urbis) "city." An Old English word for it was underburg. Close to crowds but just beyond the reach of municipal jurisdiction, suburbs in 17c., especially those of London, had a sense of "inferior, debased, and licentious habits or life" (e.g. suburban sinner, slang for "loose woman, prostitute"). By 1817, the tinge had shifted to "inferior manners and narrow views." Compare also French equivalent faubourg.

[T]he growth of the metropolis throws vast numbers of people into distant dormitories where ... life is carried on without the discipline of rural occupations and without the cultural resources that the Central District of the city still retains. [Lewis Mumford, 1922]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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suburbs in the Bible

the immediate vicinity of a city or town (Num. 35:3, 7; Ezek. 45:2). In 2 Kings 23:11 the Hebrew word there used (parvarim) occurs nowhere else. The Revised Version renders it "precincts." The singular form of this Hebrew word (parvar) is supposed by some to be the same as Parbar (q.v.), which occurs twice in 1 Chr. 26:18.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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