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[me-truh-pol-i-tn] /ˌmɛ trəˈpɒl ɪ tn/

of, noting, or characteristic of a or its inhabitants, especially in culture, sophistication, or in accepting and combining a wide variety of people, ideas, etc.
of or relating to a large city, its surrounding suburbs, and other neighboring communities:
the New York metropolitan area.
pertaining to or constituting a mother country.
pertaining to an ecclesiastical .
an inhabitant of a .
a person who has the sophistication, fashionable taste, or other habits and manners associated with those who live in a .
Eastern Church. the head of an ecclesiastical province.
an archbishop in the Church of England.
Roman Catholic Church. an archbishop who has authority over one or more suffragan sees.
(in ancient Greece) a citizen of the mother city or parent state of a colony.
of or characteristic of a metropolis
constituting a city and its suburbs: the metropolitan area
of, relating to, or designating an ecclesiastical metropolis
of or belonging to the home territories of a country, as opposed to overseas territories: metropolitan France


early 15c., “bishop having oversight of other bishops,” from Late Latin metropolitanus, from Greek metropolis “mother city” (from which others have been colonized), also “capital city,” from meter “mother” (see mother (n.1)) + polis “city” (see polis).

In Greek, “parent state of a colony;” later, “see of a metropolitan bishop.” In the West, the position now roughly corresponds to archbishop, but in the Greek church it ranks above it.

1540s, “belonging to an ecclesiastical metropolis,” from Late Latin metropolitanus, from Greek metropolites “resident of a city,” from metropolis (see metropolitan (n.)). Meaning “belonging to a chief or capital city” is from 1550s. In reference to underground city railways, it is attested from 1867.


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