1530s, "seat of a metropolitan bishop," from Late Latin metropolis, which is from Greek (see metropolitan (n.)). Meaning "chief town or capital city of a province" is attested from 1580s; the earlier word for this in English was metropol (late 14c.) or metropolitan (mid-15c.). Related: Metropolitical "pertaining to or belonging to a metropolis."
updated on January 08, 2019