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See more synonyms for burgess on Thesaurus.com
  1. American History. a representative in the popular branch of the colonial legislature of Virginia or Maryland.
  2. (formerly) a representative of a borough in the British Parliament.
  3. Rare. an inhabitant of an English borough.
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Origin of burgess

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


  1. Anthony,1917–93, English novelist and critic.
  2. (Frank) Ge·lett [juh-let] /dʒəˈlɛt/, 1866–1951, U.S. illustrator and humorist.
  3. Thornton Waldo,1874–1965, U.S. author, especially of children's books.
  4. a male given name.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for burgesses

voter, civilian, resident, national, settler, inhabitant, taxpayer, villager, dweller, commoner, aborigine, denizen, subject, householder, occupant, native, cosmopolite, burgher, burgess, townsperson

Examples from the Web for burgesses

Contemporary Examples of burgesses

Historical Examples of burgesses

  • The within resolutions passed the House of Burgesses in May, 1765.

    Patrick Henry

    Moses Coit Tyler

  • If he had been one of the Burgesses his name would have appeared with the others.

  • Whereupon it was resolved by the Assembly that his Burgesses should have no admittance.

  • The house of Burgesses appointed him a member of the committee of correspondence.

    Hidden Treasures

    Harry A. Lewis

  • We had only to ask what burgesses were, and whether they grew on trees.

British Dictionary definitions for burgesses


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

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


  1. 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)
  2. Guy . 1911–63, British spy, who fled to the Soviet Union (with Donald Maclean) in 1951
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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 burgesses



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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper