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. 2019

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



of or characteristic of a metropolis
constituting a city and its suburbsthe metropolitan area
of, relating to, or designating an ecclesiastical metropolis
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