a thickly populated area, usually smaller than a city and larger than a village, having fixed boundaries and certain local powers of government.
a densely populated area of considerable size, as a city or borough.
(especially in New England) a municipal corporation with less elaborate organization and powers than a city.
(in most U.S. states except those of New England) a township.
any urban area, as contrasted with its surrounding countryside.
the inhabitants of a town; townspeople; citizenry.
the particular town or city in mind or referred to: living on the outskirts of town; to be out of town.
a nearby or neighboring city; the chief town or city in a district: I am staying at a friend's apartment in town.
the main business or shopping area in a town or city; downtown.
a village or hamlet in which a periodic market or fair is held.
any village or hamlet.
Scot. a farmstead.
of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or belonging to a town: town laws; town government; town constable.
go to town, Informal.
to be successful.
to do well, efficiently, or speedily: The engineers really went to town on those plans.
to lose restraint or inhibition; overindulge.
on the town,
Informal. in quest of entertainment in a city's nightclubs, bars, etc.; out to have a good time: a bunch of college kids out on the town.
supported by the public charity of the state or community; on relief.
paint the town. paint ( def 16 ).

before 900; Middle English toun, tun, Old English tūn walled or fenced place, courtyard, farmstead, village; cognate with Old Norse tūn homefield, German Zaun fence, Old Irish dún fort

townless, adjective
intertown, adjective

1. See community. Unabridged


Ithiel [ith-ee-uhl] , 1784–1844, U.S. architect. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To town
World English Dictionary
town (taʊn)
1.  a.  a densely populated urban area, typically smaller than a city and larger than a village, having some local powers of government and a fixed boundary
 b.  (as modifier): town life Related: urban
2.  a city, borough, or other urban area
3.  (in the US) a territorial unit of local government that is smaller than a county; township
4.  the nearest town or commercial district
5.  London or the chief city of an area
6.  the inhabitants of a town
7.  Compare gown the permanent residents of a university town as opposed to the university staff and students
8.  go to town
 a.  to make a supreme or unrestricted effort; go all out
 b.  informal (Austral), (NZ) to lose one's temper
9.  on the town seeking out entertainments and amusements
Related: urban
[Old English tūn village; related to Old Saxon, Old Norse tūn, Old High German zūn fence, Old Irish dūn]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

O.E. tun "enclosure, enclosed land with buildings," later "village," from P.Gmc. *tunaz, *tunan (cf. O.S., O.N., O.Fris. tun "fence, hedge," M.Du. tuun "fence," Du. tuin "garden," O.H.G. zun, Ger. Zaun "fence, hedge"), an early borrowing from Celtic *dunom (cf. O.Ir. dun, Welsh din "fortress, fortified
place, camp;" see down (n.2)). Meaning "inhabited place larger than a village" (1154) arose after the Norman conquest, to correspond to Fr. ville. The modern word is partially a generic term, applicable to cities of great size as well as places intermediate between a city and a village; such use is unusual, the only parallel is perhaps L. oppidium, which occasionally was applied to Rome or Athens (each of which was more properly an urbs). First record of town hall is from 1481; townhouse "residence in a town" is from 1825. Townie "townsman, one raised in a town" is recorded from 1827, often opposed to the university students or circus workers who were just passing through. Town ball, version of baseball, is recorded from 1852. Town car (1907) originally was a motor car with an enclosed passenger compartment and open driver's seat. On the town "living the high life" is from 1712. Go to town "do (something) energetically" is first recorded 1933. Man about town "one constantly seen at public and private functions" is attested from 1734.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idiom beginning with town, also see all over the place (town); ghost town; go to town; man about town; one-horse town; only game in town; on the town; out of town; paint the town red; talk of the town.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Example sentences for town
Nightingale confronts tom and tells him about her reputation around town.
This was used for town meetings and as a church by three of the congregations.
Elsewhere in the town many more thousands were mutilated and killed.
These men organized the town with a distinct moral purpose in view.
Images for town
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature