American History. a representative in the popular branch of the colonial legislature of Virginia or Maryland.
(formerly) a representative of a borough in the British Parliament.
Rare. an inhabitant of an English borough.

Origin of burgess

1175–1225; Middle English burgeis < Anglo-French, Old French, equivalent to burg city (< Germanic) + -eis < Latin -ēnsis -ensis; cf. -ese




Anthony,1917–93, English novelist and critic.
(Frank) Ge·lett [juh-let] /dʒəˈlɛt/, 1866–1951, U.S. illustrator and humorist.
Thornton Waldo,1874–1965, U.S. author, especially of children's books.
a male given name.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for burgess

Contemporary Examples of burgess

Historical Examples of burgess

  • Stephen caught the bridle, and Ambrose helped the burgess into the saddle.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • Some years ago, your good town did me the honour of making me an honorary Burgess.

  • "Oh, Cap'n Burgess didn't fix the table, if that's what you mean," said the new nurse.

    Cap'n Eri

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • They also ordered every burgess to provide himself with a bucket.

    William Shakespeare

    Samuel Levy Bensusan

  • She then suddenly remembered that Mr. Burgess was no longer living in her hotel.


    W. W. Baggally

British Dictionary definitions for burgess



(in England)
  1. a citizen or freeman of a borough
  2. any inhabitant of a borough
English history a Member of Parliament from a borough, corporate town, or university
a member of the colonial assembly of Maryland or Virginia

Word Origin for burgess

C13: from Old French burgeis, from borc town, from Late Latin burgus, of Germanic origin; see borough



Anthony, real name John Burgess Wilson . 1917–93, English novelist and critic: his novels include A Clockwork Orange (1962), Tremor of Intent (1966), Earthly Powers (1980), and Any Old Iron (1989)
Guy . 1911–63, British spy, who fled to the Soviet Union (with Donald Maclean) in 1951
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 burgess

c.1200, burgeis "citizen of a borough," from Old French borjois (Modern French bourgeois), from Late Latin burgensis (see bourgeois). Applied from late 15c. to borough representatives in Parliament and used later in Virginia and other colonies used to denote members of the legislative body, while in Pennsylvania, etc., it meant "member of the governing council of a borough."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper