[boo r-zhwah-zee; French boor-zhwa-zee]
See more synonyms for bourgeoisie on
  1. the bourgeois class.
  2. (in Marxist theory) the class that, in contrast to the proletariat or wage-earning class, is primarily concerned with property values.

Origin of bourgeoisie

From French, dating back to 1700–10; see origin at bourgeois1, -y3 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bourgeoisie

Contemporary Examples of bourgeoisie

Historical Examples of bourgeoisie

  • Despairing of the noblesse he went among the bourgeoisie with that hope.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • Everything is settled between the clergy, the nobility, and the bourgeoisie.

  • He alone will force the bourgeoisie to their knees and establish the rule of the people.

    The Solar Magnet

    Sterner St. Paul Meek

  • He used to say that the bourgeoisie, the smug, overfed lot, had killed them.

    A Set of Six

    Joseph Conrad

  • We answered the distress call of the Cadets and the bourgeoisie!

    The Crimson Tide

    Robert W. Chambers

British Dictionary definitions for bourgeoisie


noun the bourgeoisie
  1. the middle classes
  2. (in Marxist thought) the ruling class of the two basic classes of capitalist society, consisting of capitalists, manufacturers, bankers, and other employers. The bourgeoisie owns the most important of the means of production, through which it exploits the working class
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 bourgeoisie

1707, "body of freemen in a French town; the French middle class," from French bourgeois, from Old French burgeis, borjois (12c.) "town dweller" (as distinct from "peasant"), from borc "town, village," from Frankish *burg "city" (see borough). Communist use for "the capitalist class generally" attested from 1886.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

bourgeoisie in Culture



In general, the middle class. Applied to the Middle Ages, it refers to townspeople, who were neither nobles nor peasants. In Marxism it refers to those who control the means of production and do not live directly by the sale of their labor. Karl Marx (see also Marx) distinguished between the “haute” (high) bourgeoisie (industrialists and financiers) and the “petite” (small or “petty”) bourgeoisie (shopkeepers, self-employed artisans, lawyers). Marxism postulates a fundamental conflict between the interests of the bourgeoisie and those of the propertyless workers, the proletariat (see also proletariat).


“Bourgeois” may also refer to mediocre taste or to the flashy display of wealth by the nouveau riche.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.