Etymology
Advertisement
urban (adj.)

"characteristic of city life, pertaining to cities or towns," 1610s (but rare before 1830s), from Latin urbanus "of or pertaining to a city or city life; in Rome," also "in city fashion, polished, refined, cultivated, courteous," but also sometimes "witty, facetious, bold, impudent;" as a noun, "city dweller," from urbs (genitive urbis) "city, walled town," a word of unknown origin.

The word gradually emerged in this sense as urbane became restricted to manners and styles of expression. In late 20c. American English gradually acquiring a suggestion of "African-American." Urban renewal, euphemistic for "slum clearance," is attested from 1955, American English. Urban sprawl recorded by 1958. Urban legend attested by 1980.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Urban 

masc. proper name, from Latin urbanus "refined, courteous," literally "of a city" (see urban (adj.)).

Related entries & more 
area (n.)

1530s, "vacant piece of ground," from Latin area "level ground, open space," used of building sites, playgrounds, threshing floors, etc.; which is of uncertain origin. Perhaps an irregular derivation from arere "to become dry" (see arid), on notion of "bare space cleared by burning." The generic sense of "any particular amount of surface (whether open or not) contained within any set of limits" is from 1560s. Area code in the North American telephone systems is attested from 1959.

Related entries & more 
area-way (n.)

"passageway between buildings," 1850, from area + way (n.).

Related entries & more 
beltway (n.)

U.S. term for a ring highway around an urban area, especially Interstate 495 around Washington, D.C., the Capital Beltway, which was completed 1964; from belt (n.) + way (n.). Hence, since c. 1978, it has been used figurative for "Washington, D.C., and its culture," for better or worse.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
areal (adj.)

"pertaining to an area," 1670s, from Latin arealis, from area "level ground, open space" (see area).

Related entries & more 
exurb (n.)

"the outer, prosperous ring of the suburbs," 1955, American English, from exurban (adj.), by 1838 (it seems to have arisen in the writings of the reform movement opposed to urban cemeteries), from ex- + urban, on model of suburban. Related: Exurbanite; exurbia.

Related entries & more 
conurbation (n.)

1915, from con-, assimilated form of Latin com "with, together" (see com-) + urbs "city" (see urban (adj.)) + noun ending -ation. Coined by Scottish biologist and urban planner Patrick Geddes in "Cities in Evolution."

Related entries & more