or bour·geon


verb (used without object)

to grow or develop quickly; flourish: The town burgeoned into a city. He burgeoned into a fine actor.
to begin to grow, as a bud; put forth buds, shoots, etc., as a plant (often followed by out, forth).

verb (used with object)

to put forth, as buds.


a bud; sprout.

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

Synonyms for burgeon

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for burgeon

Historical Examples of burgeon

  • Her heart expanded, her soul seemed to burgeon and to bloom.

    Basil Everman

    Elsie Singmaster

  • As I drained the glass now, new life seemed to burgeon within me.

    Right Ho, Jeeves

    P. G. Wodehouse

  • I looked down, cursing myself that I had dared to suspect she could burgeon only in the affluence of satins.

    The Portal of Dreams

    Charles Neville Buck

  • Unless a writer feels free, things will not come to him, he cannot burgeon on any subject whatsoever.

  • Then the tree began to bud and burgeon with gifts, and the rare glories of colour crept in upon the snows of winter.

    The Art of Entertaining

    M. E. W. Sherwood

British Dictionary definitions for burgeon




(often foll by forth or out) (of a plant) to sprout (buds)
(intr ; often foll by forth or out) to develop or grow rapidly; flourish


a bud of a plant

Word Origin for burgeon

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 burgeon

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper