a. A population center that is larger than a village and smaller than a city.
b. A territorial and political unit governed by a town meeting, especially in New England.
c. Informal A city: New York is a big town.
d. Chiefly British A rural village that has a market or fair periodically.
e. The residents of a town: The whole town was upset at the news.
2. An area that is more densely populated or developed than the surrounding area: going into town to shop.
3. The residents of a community in which a university or college is located, as opposed to the students and faculty: a dispute pitting town against gown.
4. A group of prairie dog burrows.
on the town Informal
In spirited pursuit of the entertainment offered by a town or city.
[Middle English, from Old English tūn, enclosed place, village; see dheuə- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.