Word of the Day


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an area or town near a large city but away from its centre, where there are many houses, especially for middle-class people

Origin and usage

The word suburb comes from the Latin word ‘suburbium’ meaning ‘outlying part of a city’. The Latin prefix ‘sub-‘ means ‘below’ and the root ‘urbs’ means ‘city’. In English, the word suburb first appeared sometime in the early 14th century, when it was used to refer to the village or area outside of a larger town or city.


Suburb is a word that refers to the predominantly residential areas that surround major cities. Suburbs are close to cities, but away from the centre.

There are many aspects that make suburbs different from cities. In a suburb, there are many residential properties spread out over a large area. This makes it possible for people who live in suburbs to have a single-family home and often a piece of property or land that sets that home apart from neighbours. Surburbs are less crowded than urban areas, and the cost of living is typically lower. Common urban problems, like traffic, noise, excessive pollution and crowds, are mostly absent from suburbs.

While many people think living in a city suburb means life is more boring and slow, there are plenty of suburbs around the world that are lively, thriving communities. Local festivals and civic events, great restaurants and small businesses, as well as parks and recreational activities are all typically found in suburbs.


“Sydney in general is eclectic. You can be on that brilliant blue ocean walk in the morning and then within 20 minutes you can be in a completely vast suburban sprawl or an Italian or Asian suburb, and it’s that mix of people, it’s that melting pot of people that give it its vital personality.”
(Baz Luhrmann)

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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