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From Ancient Greek κοσμοπολίτης (kosmopolítēs, citizen of the world) (κόσμος (kósmos, world) + πολίτης (polítēs, citizen)).


  • enPR: kŏz.mŏʹpə.līt', IPA(key): /kɑzˈmɑ.pəˌlaɪt/


cosmopolite (plural cosmopolites)

  1. One who is at home in every place; a citizen of the world; a cosmopolitan person.
    • 1852, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "Hands All Round," [1]
      First drink a health, this solemn night, / A health to England, every guest: / That man’s the best cosmopolite / Who loves his native country best.
    • 1863, Lord John Russell, Hansard, 8 May, 1863, [2]
      Prince Gortschakoff has spoken of the elements of disturbance and the revolutionary cosmopolites of Europe, and has asked France and England and Austria to repress their activity. Well, my Lords, no doubt as carrion birds are drawn by instinct to the battle-field, so, wherever there is disturbance, the moral and political vultures of Europe will flock to take part in it
    • 1854, Henry David Thoreau, Walden, New York: Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., 1910, Chapter XVIII, p. 422, [3]
      The wild goose is more of a cosmopolite than we; he breaks his fast in Canada, takes a luncheon in the Ohio, and plumes himself for the night in a southern bayou.
    • 1891, Henry James, The Pupil.
      He was a pale, lean, acute, undeveloped little cosmopolite, who liked intellectual gymnastics and who, also, as regards the behaviour of mankind, had noticed more things than you might suppose, but who nevertheless had his proper playroom of superstitions, where he smashed a dozen toys a day.
    • 1986, Joseph Brodsky, "In a Room and a Half" in Less Than One: Selected Essays, New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, p. 469,
      [] the fifties were bad years for the Jews. The campaign against the "rootless cosmopolites" was in full swing []
    • 2007, Jessica L. Harland-Jacobs, Builders of Empire: Freemasons and British Imperialism, 1717-1927, University of North Carolina Press, Chapter Two, p. 97, [4]
      Eighteenth-century Masons viewed themselves as cosmopolites, as citizens of the world who practiced toleration and inclusiveness, believed in the fundamental unity of mankind, and prized affection, sociability and benevolence.
  2. (US) The butterfly painted lady (Vanessa cardui).
    • 1989, May Berenbaum, Ninety-nine Gnats, Nits, and Nibblers, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, Chapter 5, p. 102, [5]
      The painted lady butterfly [] has been seen around towns throughout North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Africa. It's known on every continent except Antarctica, and it's even found on islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. [] Not surprisingly, the painted lady is known in some circles as the cosmopolite.




cosmopolite (comparative more cosmopolite, superlative most cosmopolite)

  1. Of or relating to cosmopolites; cosmopolitan.
    • 1921, Lafcadio Hearn, Karma and Other Stories and Essays, London: George G. Harrap & Co., p. 166, [6]
      International necessities are rapidly breaking down old prejudices and conservatisms, while developing cosmopolite feeling.
    • 2002, Charles M. Joseph, Stravinsky and Balanchine: A Journey of Invention, Yale University Press, p. 34,
      The cosmopolite glitter of the Ballets Russes enjoyed considerable compass—a transoceanic range that quickly credentialed both the composer and the choreographer.
  2. (communication) Oriented outside one's own social system
    • 2008, Jennifer L. Sumner, Healthcare Communication Networks: The Dissemination of Employee Information for Hospital Security, Doctoral dissertation, University of Central Florida, Orlando, published by ProQuest LLC, Section 3.3, p. 42, [7]
      Early adopters tend to be better educated, enjoy higher social status, occupy positions in organizations of greater size and resources, consume higher levels of information from mass media communications, and are more cosmopolite than their later adopting counterparts. An individual or organization that is more cosmopolite is one that seeks and receives higher levels of exposure and exchange with individuals and organizations outside of their specific social system.
  3. (biology) Distributed throughout the world; having a wide geographical distribution.
    • 1881, Alfred Russell Wallace, Island Life, or, the Phenomena and Causes of Insular Faunas and Floras, Including a Revision and Attempted Solution of the Problem of Geological Climates, New York: Harper & Brothers, Part I, Chapter II, p. 25, [8]
      If, however, we consider the Australian dingo as a native animal, we might class the genus Canis as cosmopolite, but the wild dogs of South America are now formed into separate genera by some naturalists.
    • 1987, F. Infante, E. Ruiz de Clavijo, C. Galán and G. Gallego, "Occurrence of Alternaria Nees ex Fr. in indoor and outdoor habitats in Cordoba (Spain)" in G. Boehm and R.M. Leuschner (eds.), Advances in Aerobiology: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Aerobiology, August 6–9, 1986, Basel, Switzerland, Basel: Birkhäuser Verlag, p. 160, [9]
      Both species could be labelled as the most cosmopolite as they appear in 100% of the sampling spots, both indoors and outdoors.

Related terms[edit]

See also[edit]





cosmopolite m or f (plural cosmopolites)

  1. cosmopolite


cosmopolite (plural cosmopolites)

  1. cosmopolitan




  1. feminine plural of cosmopolita