Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A usually residential area or community outlying a city.
  • n. The usually residential region around a major city; the environs.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. the area on the periphery of a city or large town that falls between being truly part of the city, but is not countryside either.
  • n. any subdivision of a conurbation, not necessarily on the periphery.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An outlying part of a city or town; a smaller place immediately adjacent to a city; in the plural, the region which is on the confines of any city or large town.
  • n. Hence, the confines; the outer part; the environment.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An outlying part of a city or town; a part outside of the city boundaries but adjoining them: often used in the plural to signify loosely some part near a city: as, a garden situated in the suburbs of London. The form suburbs was formerly often used as a singular.
  • n. The confines; the outskirts.
  • Suburban; suited to the suburbs, or to the less well regulated parts of a city.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a residential district located on the outskirts of a city

Etymologies

Middle English suburbe, from Old French, from Latin suburbium : sub-, sub- + urbs, urb-, city.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French suburbe, subburbe, from Latin suburbium, from sub- + urbs ("city"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • From Thomas Carlyle's The French Revolution "the Suburb" - meaning something like a place of inferior or debased habits of life.

    March 6, 2011