1. of, noting, or characteristic of a metropolis or its inhabitants, especially in culture, sophistication, or in accepting and combining a wide variety of people, ideas, etc.
  2. of or relating to a large city, its surrounding suburbs, and other neighboring communities: the New York metropolitan area.
  3. pertaining to or constituting a mother country.
  4. pertaining to an ecclesiastical metropolis.
  1. an inhabitant of a metropolis.
  2. a person who has the sophistication, fashionable taste, or other habits and manners associated with those who live in a metropolis.
  3. Eastern Church. the head of an ecclesiastical province.
  4. an archbishop in the Church of England.
  5. Roman Catholic Church. an archbishop who has authority over one or more suffragan sees.
  6. (in ancient Greece) a citizen of the mother city or parent state of a colony.

Origin of metropolitan

1300–50; Middle English < Late Latin mētropolītānus of, belonging to a metropolis < Greek mētropolī́t(ēs) (see metropolis, -ite1) + Latin -ānus -an
Related formsmet·ro·pol·i·tan·ism, nounin·ter·met·ro·pol·i·tan, adjectivenon·met·ro·pol·i·tan, adjective, nounsu·per·met·ro·pol·i·tan, adjectiveun·met·ro·pol·i·tan, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for metropolitanism

Historical Examples of metropolitanism

  • And it is one of the ways that Chicago preserves her metropolitanism.

  • All this gives Arles a certain air of metropolitanism, but it does not in the least overshadow the memories of its past.

    Rambles on the Riviera

    Francis Miltoun

  • Mrs. Gammit felt abashed at her ignorance, but gratified, at the same time, by the reproach of metropolitanism.

    The Backwoodsmen

    Charles G. D. Roberts

British Dictionary definitions for metropolitanism


  1. of or characteristic of a metropolis
  2. constituting a city and its suburbsthe metropolitan area
  3. of, relating to, or designating an ecclesiastical metropolis
  4. of or belonging to the home territories of a country, as opposed to overseas territoriesmetropolitan France
    1. Eastern Churchesthe head of an ecclesiastical province, ranking between archbishop and patriarch
    2. Church of Englandan archbishop
    3. RC Churchan archbishop or bishop having authority in certain matters over the dioceses in his province
Derived Formsmetropolitanism, noun
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 metropolitanism

1855, from metropolitan (adj.) + -ism.



early 15c., "bishop having oversight of other bishops," from Late Latin metropolitanus, from Greek metropolis "mother city" (from which others have been colonized), also "capital city," from meter "mother" (see mother (n.1)) + polis "city" (see polis).

In Greek, "parent state of a colony;" later, "see of a metropolitan bishop." In the West, the position now roughly corresponds to archbishop, but in the Greek church it ranks above it.



1540s, "belonging to an ecclesiastical metropolis," from Late Latin metropolitanus, from Greek metropolites "resident of a city," from metropolis (see metropolitan (n.)). Meaning "belonging to a chief or capital city" is from 1550s. In reference to underground city railways, it is attested from 1867.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper