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[ur-beyn] /ɜrˈbeɪn/
having the polish and suavity regarded as characteristic of sophisticated social life in major cities:
an urbane manner.
reflecting elegance, sophistication, etc., especially in expression:
He maintained an urbane tone in his letters.
Origin of urbane
1525-35; (< Middle French urbain) < Latin urbānus (see urban; for difference in stress and second syllable cf. human, humane)
Related forms
urbanely, adverb
urbaneness, noun
unurbane, adjective
unurbanely, adverb
Can be confused
urban, urbane.
1. suave, cosmopolitan. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for urbane
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Seated in state, on a sort of daïs in the centre of the room, was a courteous and urbane personage of affable exterior.

    She and I, Volume 2 John Conroy Hutcheson
  • "I perfectly agree with you," said the other, with an urbane bow.

    Luttrell Of Arran Charles James Lever
  • He is the most urbane and the most agreeably gossiping companion.

  • Your custom of pairing is not what you call 'urbane' on this world.

    The Galaxy Primes Edward Elmer Smith
  • All comers were received with a hearty handshake and were entertained with urbane speeches.

    A Dream of Empire William Henry Venable
  • Lived at Athens in his "gardens," an urbane and kindly, if somewhat useless, life.

    Meditations Marcus Aurelius
British Dictionary definitions for urbane


characterized by elegance or sophistication
Derived Forms
urbanely, adverb
urbaneness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin urbānus belonging to the town; see urban
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 urbane

1530s, "of or relating to cities or towns," from Middle French urbain (14c.), from Latin urbanus "belonging to a city," also "citified, elegant" (see urban). The meaning "having the manners of townspeople, courteous, refined" is first attested 1620s. Urbanity in this sense is recorded from 1530s. For sense connection, cf. human/humane.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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