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rotten borough

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noun
  1. (before the Reform Bill of 1832) any English borough that had very few voters yet was represented in Parliament.
  2. an election district that has more representatives in a legislative body than the number of its constituents would normally call for.

Origin of rotten borough

First recorded in 1805–15
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for rotten borough

Historical Examples

  • Here I came up with my sons, and we entered the rotten-borough together.

    Rural Rides

    William Cobbett


British Dictionary definitions for rotten borough

rotten borough

noun
  1. (before the Reform Act of 1832) any of certain English parliamentary constituencies with only a very few electorsCompare pocket borough
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