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According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a city is "an inhabited place of greater size, population, or importance than a town or village"; a town is "a compactly settled area usually larger than a village but smaller than a city"; and a village is "a settlement usually larger than a hamlet and smaller than a town".

One can deduce from these definitions that the word "city" cannot be used to describe a town or a village, and that the word "town" cannot be used to describe a city or a village.

If, therefore, one wanted to speak of both a city and a town, as for example, "The city of Philadelphia and the town of Hershey", what word could he use to describe both of them, in saying, for example, "Both of these [] are in Pennsylvania"?

Thank you.

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    Read your quoted definitions. You can pick between "inhabited place", "settled area" or "settlement". Explain why those don't answer your question. Because they're all valid, and one of them is the term I instantly thought of when I read your question's title. – AndyT Nov 28 '18 at 16:33
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    Welcome to EL&U. This question was previously asked at Generic name for places like village, town and cities, but the short answer is that there is no single universally accepted term. You wouldn't need to be so specific in informal settings (Chicago is my kind of town), and in formal settings you use whatever terminology is particular to your state. – choster Nov 28 '18 at 16:37
  • @AndyT Those words are too technical, in my opinion. – CMK Nov 28 '18 at 17:13
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Each could be described as a Population center. This would not imply magnitude which seems to be your goal.

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  • Hi Elliot, welcome to EL&U. Note that this site is a bit different from other Q&A sites: an answer is expected to be authoritative, detailed, and explain why it is correct - preferably by quoting a reference (e.g. a dictionary definition) hyperlinked to the source. You can edit your post to add this detail; for further guidance, see How to Answer. Make sure you also take the Tour :-) – Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica Nov 28 '18 at 21:57
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For a literary term, try municipality...

municipality: noun a city or town that has corporate status and local government.

I say "literary" since you should not be so careless with terms in legal or technical documents, but in general prose this term is acceptable.

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