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[boo r-zhwah, boo r-zhwah; French boor-zhwa]
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noun, plural bour·geois.
  1. a member of the middle class.
  2. a person whose political, economic, and social opinions are believed to be determined mainly by concern for property values and conventional respectability.
  3. a shopkeeper or merchant.
  1. belonging to, characteristic of, or consisting of the middle class.
  2. conventional; middle-class.
  3. dominated or characterized by materialistic pursuits or concerns.

Origin of bourgeois1

1555–65; < Middle French; Old French borgeis burgess


noun Printing.
  1. a size of type approximately 9-point, between brevier and long primer.

Origin of bourgeois2

First recorded in 1815–25; perhaps from a printer so named


[boo r-zhwah, boo r-zhwah; French boor-zhwa]
  1. Lé·on Vic·tor Au·guste [ley-awn veek-tawr oh-gyst] /leɪˈɔ̃ vikˈtɔr oʊˈgyst/, 1851–1925, French statesman: Nobel Peace Prize 1920.
  2. Louise,1911–2010, U.S. sculptor, born in France.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bourgeois

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Whereupon the two aristocrats despised the bourgeois Regnier.

  • Our second visit brought us into contact with the bourgeois element.

    In the Heart of Vosges

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • My godfather made a great fuss of her, for success was everything to this bourgeois.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • The crowd, we soon discovered, was bourgeois in the extreme.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • Go all your life dressed like a bourgeois and they'll never call you "My dear gentleman."

British Dictionary definitions for bourgeois


noun plural -geois
  1. a member of the middle class, esp one regarded as being conservative and materialistic or (in Marxist thought) a capitalist exploiting the working class
  2. a mediocre, unimaginative, or materialistic person
  1. characteristic of, relating to, or comprising the middle class
  2. conservative or materialistic in outlooka bourgeois mentality
  3. (in Marxist thought) dominated by capitalists or capitalist interests
Derived Formsbourgeoise (ˈbʊəʒwɑːz, bʊəˈʒwɑːz), fem n

Word Origin

C16: from Old French borjois, burgeis burgher, citizen, from bourg town; see burgess


  1. (formerly) a size of printer's type approximately equal to 9 point

Word Origin

C19: perhaps from its size, midway between long primer and brevier


  1. Léon Victor Auguste . (leɔ̃ viktɔr oɡyst). 1851–1925, French statesman; first chairman of the League of Nations: Nobel peace prize 1920
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for bourgeois


1560s, "of the French middle class," from French bourgeois, from Old French burgeis, borjois "town dweller" (see bourgeoisie). Sense of "socially or aesthetically conventional" is from 1764; in communist and socialist writing, as a noun, "a capitalist" (1883).

It is better to be a good ordinary bourgeois than a bad ordinary bohemian. [Aldous Huxley, 1930]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper