suburb mid-14c., "residential area outside a town or city," from O.Fr. suburbe, from L. suburbium "an outlying part of a city," from sub "below, near" (see SUB- (Cf. sub-)) + urbs (gen. urbis) "city." An O.E. word for it was underburg. Close to crowds but just beyond the reach of municipal jurisdiction, suburbs in 17c., especially those of London, had a sense of "inferior, debased, and licentious habits or life" (e.g. suburban sinner, slang for "loose woman, prostitute"). By 1817, the tinge had shifted to "inferior manners and narrow views." Compare also French equivalent FAUBOURG (Cf. faubourg).
[T]he growth of the metropolis throws vast numbers of people into distant dormitories where ... life is carried on without the discipline of rural occupations and without the cultural resources that the Central District of the city still retains. [Lewis Mumford, 1922]

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • suburb — UK US /ˈsʌbɜːb/ noun [C] ► an area on the edge of a large town or city where people who work in the town or city often live: »The publishing company relocated out of central London to the suburbs. »She opened a new location in the Dallas suburb… …   Financial and business terms

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  • suburb — sub|urb [ˈsʌbə:b US ə:rb] n [Date: 1300 1400; : Latin; Origin: suburbium, from urbs city ] an area where people live which is away from the centre of a town or city ▪ a London suburb suburb of ▪ a suburb of Los Angeles ▪ a kid from the suburbs in …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • suburb */ — UK [ˈsʌbɜː(r)b] / US [ˈsʌˌbɜrb] noun [countable] Word forms suburb : singular suburb plural suburbs an area or town near a large city but away from its centre, where there are many houses, especially for middle class people suburb of: Wanstead is …   English dictionary

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