city

city early 13c., in medieval usage a cathedral town, but originally "any settlement," regardless of size (distinction from town is 14c., though in English it always seems to have ranked above borough), from O.Fr. cite "town, city" (10c., Mod.Fr. cité), from earlier citet, from L. civitatem (nom. civitas) originally "citizenship, condition or rights of a citizen," later "community of citizens, state, commonwealth," from civis "townsman," from PIE root *kei- "to lie; bed, couch; homestead." The Latin word for "city" was urbs, but a resident was civis. Civitas seems to have replaced urbs as Rome (the ultimate urbs) lost its prestige. Cf. It. citta, Catalan ciutat, Sp. ciudad, Port. cidade. City hall first recorded 1670s; city slicker first recorded 1924 (see SLICK (Cf. slick)); both Amer.Eng. Inner city first attested 1968. City state (also city-state) is attested from 1893.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • City — Cit y (s[i^]t [y^]), n.; pl. {Cities} (s[i^]t [i^]z). [OE. cite, F. cit[ e], fr. L. civitas citizenship, state, city, fr. civis citizen; akin to Goth. heiwa (in heiwafrauja man of the house), AS. h[imac]wan, pl., members of a family, servants,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • City — Cit y, a. Of or pertaining to a city. Shak. [1913 Webster] {City council}. See under {Council}. {City court}, The municipal court of a city. [U. S.] {City ward}, a watchman, or the collective watchmen, of a city. [Obs.] Fairfax. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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