• synonyms


[bur-juh n]
noun, verb (used with or without object)
  1. burgeon.
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or bour·geon

verb (used without object)
  1. to grow or develop quickly; flourish: The town burgeoned into a city. He burgeoned into a fine actor.
  2. to begin to grow, as a bud; put forth buds, shoots, etc., as a plant (often followed by out, forth).
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verb (used with object)
  1. to put forth, as buds.
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  1. a bud; sprout.
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Origin of burgeon

1275–1325; (noun) Middle English burjon, burion shoot, bud < Anglo-French burjun, burg(e)on; Old French burjon < Vulgar Latin *burriōne(m), accusative of *burriō, derivative of Late Latin burra wool, fluff (cf. bourrée, bureau), presumably from the down covering certain buds; (v.) Middle English burg(e)onen, borgen < Anglo-French, Old French, derivative of the noun


Usage note

The two senses of burgeon, “to bud” ( The maples are burgeoning ) and “to grow or flourish” ( The suburbs around the city have been burgeoning under the impact of commercial growth ), date from the 14th century. Today the sense “to grow or flourish” is the more common. Occasionally, objections are raised to the use of this sense, perhaps because of its popularity in journalistic writing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bourgeon

Historical Examples

  • My budding Daphne wanted scope To bourgeon all her flowers of hope.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 10, No. 58, August, 1862


  • These "lisping hawthorn-buds" of fashion only bourgeon in tainted soil.

  • Bourgeon de Mars, enfant de Paris;Si un eschape, il en vaut dix.

    Adventures in Criticism

    Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

  • They keep religion alive, and make it bourgeon and yield the new fruits for which the generations hunger.

British Dictionary definitions for bourgeon


noun, verb
  1. a variant spelling of burgeon
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  1. (often foll by forth or out) (of a plant) to sprout (buds)
  2. (intr ; often foll by forth or out) to develop or grow rapidly; flourish
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  1. a bud of a plant
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Word Origin

C13: from Old French burjon, perhaps ultimately from Late Latin burra shaggy cloth; from the downiness of certain buds
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 bourgeon



early 14c., "grow, sprout, blossom," from Anglo-French burjuner, Old French borjoner "to bud, sprout," from borjon "a bud, shoot, pimple" (Modern French bourgeon), of uncertain origin. Perhaps from Vulgar Latin *burrionem (nominative *burrio), from Late Latin burra "flock of wool," itself of uncertain origin. Some sources (Kitchin, Gamillscheg) say either the French word or the Vulgar Latin one is from Germanic. The English verb is perhaps instead a native development from burjoin (n.) "a bud" (c.1300), from Old French. Related: Burgeoned; burgeoning.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper