Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A population center that is larger than a village and smaller than a city.
  • noun A territorial and political unit governed by a town meeting, especially in New England.
  • noun Informal A city.
  • noun Chiefly British A rural village that has a market or fair periodically.
  • noun The residents of a town.
  • noun An area that is more densely populated or developed than the surrounding area.
  • noun The residents of a community in which a university or college is located, as opposed to the students and faculty.
  • noun A group of prairie dog burrows.
  • idiom (on the town) In spirited pursuit of the entertainment offered by a town or city.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An inclosure; a collection of houses inclosed by a hedge, palisade, or wall for safety; a walled or fortified place.
  • noun Any collection of houses larger than a village; in a general sense, a city or borough: as, London town; within a mile of Edinburgh town: often opposed to country, in which use it is usually preceded by the definite article.
  • noun A large assemblage of adjoining or nearly adjoining houses, to which a market is usually incident, and which is not a city or bishop's see.
  • noun A tithing; a vill; a subdivision of a county, as a parish is a subdivision of a diocese.
  • noun The body of persons resident in a town or city; the townspeople: with the.
  • noun In legal usage in the United States:
  • noun In many of the States, one of the several subdivisions into which each county is divided, more accurately called, in the New England States and some others, township.
  • noun In most of the States, the corporation, or quasi corporation, composed of the inhabitants of one of such subdivisions, in some States designated by law as a township or incorporated township or township organization.
  • noun In a few of the States, a municipal corporation (not formed of one of the subdivisions of a county, but having its own boundaries like a city) with less elaborate organization and powers than a city.
  • noun A farm or farmstead; a farm-house with its connected buildings.
  • noun An officer of a parish who collects moneys from the parents of illegitimate children for the maintenance of the latter.
  • noun Synonyms and
  • noun Hamlet, Village, Town, City. A hamlet is a group of houses smaller than a village. The use of the other words in the United Kingdom is generally more precise than it is in the United States, but all are used more or less loosely. A village may have a church, but has generally no market; a town has both, and is frequently incorporated; a city is a corporate town, and is or has formerly been the see of a bishop, with a cathedral. In the United States a village is smaller than a town, and a town usually smaller than a city; there are incorporated villages as well as cities. Some places incorporated as cities are smaller than many that have only a town organization.
  • Of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a town; urban: as, town life; town manners.
  • The town prison; a bridewell.
  • A poorhouse.
  • A house or mansion in town, as distinguished from a country residence.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun obsolete Formerly: (a) An inclosure which surrounded the mere homestead or dwelling of the lord of the manor. [Obs.] (b) The whole of the land which constituted the domain. [Obs.] (c) A collection of houses inclosed by fences or walls.
  • noun engraving Any number or collection of houses to which belongs a regular market, and which is not a city or the see of a bishop.
  • noun Any collection of houses larger than a village, and not incorporated as a city; also, loosely, any large, closely populated place, whether incorporated or not, in distinction from the country, or from rural communities.
  • noun The body of inhabitants resident in a town.
  • noun United States A township; the whole territory within certain limits, less than those of a country.
  • noun The court end of London; -- commonly with the.
  • noun The metropolis or its inhabitants.
  • noun Prov. Eng. & Scot. A farm or farmstead; also, a court or farmyard.
  • noun an office who keeps the records of a town, and enters its official proceedings. See Clerk.
  • noun (Bot.) the garden cress, or peppergrass.
  • noun See Townhouse.
  • noun [U. S.] a legal meeting of the inhabitants of a town entitled to vote, for the transaction of public bisiness.
  • noun the common talk of a place; the subject or topic of common conversation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A settlement; an area with residential districts, shops and amenities, and its own local government; especially one larger than a village and smaller than a city.
  • noun US Any more urbanized center than the place of reference.
  • noun UK, historical A rural settlement in which a market was held at least once a week.
  • noun The residents (as opposed to gown: the students, faculty, etc.) of a community which is the site of a university.
  • noun colloquial Used to refer to a town or similar entity under discussion.
  • noun law A municipal organization, such as a corporation, defined by the laws of the entity of which it is a part.

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

  • noun an administrative division of a county
  • noun United States architect who was noted for his design and construction of truss bridges (1784-1844)
  • noun an urban area with a fixed boundary that is smaller than a city
  • noun the people living in a municipality smaller than a city

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old English tūn, enclosed place, village; see dheuə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English, from Old English tūn ("enclosure, village"), from Proto-Germanic *tūnan (“fence”) (compare West Frisian tún, Dutch tuin ("garden"), German Zaun, Danish/Swedish tun), from Gaulish dunon ("hill, hillfort") (compare Welsh din ("hill"), Irish dún ("fortress")), from Proto-Celtic *dūnom, from Proto-Indo-European *dʰewh₂- (“to finish, come full circle”), (compare Hittite tuhhušta 'it is finished', Latin fūnus ("burial"), Ancient Greek θνητός (thnētos, "mortal"), θάνατος (thanatos, "death"), thaneīn 'to die', Sanskrit ádhvanīt 'he vanished').

Examples

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  • My house backs against the hill's foot where it descends from the town to the river. Wendell Berry "A Native Hill"

    July 19, 2008