Burgundy

[ bur-guhn-dee ]
/ ˈbɜr gən di /

noun, plural Bur·gun·dies for 2, 3, 5.

French Bourgogne . a region in central France: a former kingdom, duchy, and province.
any of various wines, red and white, mostly still, full, and dry, produced in the Burgundy region.
(often lowercase) any of various red wines with similar characteristics made elsewhere.
(lowercase) a grayish red-brown to dark blackish-purple color.
Also called Burgundy sauce . a sauce made with red wine and thickened with an espagnole sauce or kneaded butter, served with eggs, meat, fish, or poultry.

adjective

(lowercase) having the color burgundy.

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VOCAB BUILDER

What does Burgundy mean?

Burgundy, sometimes misspelled Burgandy, is a region in France known for its production of fine wine, which is also called Burgundy. Based on the wine, burgundy (lowercase B) is also used as a term for a shade of dark red.

Where does Burgundy come from?

The east central region of Burgundy, or Bourgogne in French, takes its name from Swedish migrants, now called the Burgundians, who established a kingdom there in the 400s a.d. Variously subjugated over the centuries, the kingdom became a duchy in the 800s and annexed by France in the 15th. The Duke of Burgundy appears as a character in three major Shakespeare plays: Henry V, Henry VI Part 1, and King Lear.

The agricultural area has long been known for its viniculture, with its wine-making traditions and vineyards historically passed down through the royalty and cultivated by monasteries. Production of wine there has been mostly continuous, interrupted by the French Revolution and halted by the World Wars. 

Burgundy has been, and remains, especially celebrated all around the world for its Pinot Noir grape variety, and evidence for that fame is recorded in the Middle Ages.  Burgundy also produces a well-known Chardonnay, a white wine. The name Burgundy has denoted wines, usually reds, made in Burgundy since the 1670s in English. Wines made in other wine-growing regions to resemble a French Burgundy may also be called a Burgundy even though they weren’t made there (e.g., Australian burgundy), in which case they are often written in lowercase.

The rich, dark color of Burgundy wine has inspired the color name, burgundy (also note the lowercase spelling), documented since the late 19th century. The word for the color also describes a type of toxic red-blooming algae, which some scientists colloquially call Burgundy Blood.

The color also (in part) inspired the surname of Ron Burgundy, the lead anchor and main character of the 2004 comedy Anchorman and 2013 sequel Anchorman 2. Behaving in a way that he thinks is akin to a classy lady’s man, Burgundy‘s signature outfit features a burgundy-colored blazer. His name implies misbegotten aspirations for sophistication, as associated with a bottle of Burgundy wine, while also making fun of the bold colors used in men’s suit-wear in the film’s setting, the 1970s. Inspiration for the name may also come from a real news anchor, Mort Crim, whose surname calls up the burgundy-like color, crimson.

How is Burgundy used in real life?

Burgundy is widely used in reference to the French region in both the past and present, though most popularly for its prized wine and wine-based culture and tourism. As noted, Burgundy can name the location and the famous wines it produces.

As a color word, burgundy has more of a literary air in speech and writing, though it is widely used in the fashion and design industries to refer to a particular family of hues.

The character Ron Burgundy may be sometimes alluded to simply as Burgundy and misspelled as Burgandy.

More examples of Burgundy:

“When was the last time I didn’t wear either black, burgundy, or olive green in my outfit? Asking for a friend.”
—@meganmccluskeyy, March 2018

“Here’s something to think about with your glass of Burgundy: The grapes are ripening early due to climate change.”
—@BostonGlobe, August 2019

Note

This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

Example sentences from the Web for Burgundy

British Dictionary definitions for Burgundy

Burgundy
/ (ˈbɜːɡəndɪ) /

noun plural -dies

a region of E France famous for its wines, lying west of the Saône: formerly a semi-independent duchy; annexed to France in 1482French name: Bourgogne
Free County of Burgundy another name for Franche-Comté
a monarchy (1384–1477) of medieval Europe, at its height including the Low Countries, the duchy of Burgundy, and Franche-Comté
Kingdom of Burgundy a kingdom in E France, established in the early 6th century ad, eventually including the later duchy of Burgundy, Franche-Comté, and the Kingdom of Provence: known as the Kingdom of Arles from the 13th century
  1. any red or white wine produced in the region of Burgundy, around Dijon
  2. any heavy red table wine
(often not capital) a blackish-purple to purplish-red colour
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