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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. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for suburb


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 suburb

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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