A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law.
For example, in the American state of Massachusetts an article of incorporation approved by the local state legislature distinguishes a city government from a town. In the United Kingdom and parts of the Commonwealth of Nations, a city is usually a settlement with a royal charter. Historically, in Europe, a city was understood by some to mean an urban settlement with a cathedral. The belief in this distinction is also common in England, where the presence of a cathedral is thought by many to distinguish a 'city' (sometimes called a 'cathedral city') from a 'town' (which has a parish church); the belief is incorrect (Chelmsford, for example, became a city only in 2012, but had a cathedral for most of the 20th century).