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pocket borough

noun

  1. (before the Reform Bill of 1832) any English borough whose representatives in Parliament were controlled by an individual or family.
  2. an election district under the control of an individual, family, or group.


pocket borough

noun

  1. (before the Reform Act of 1832) an English borough constituency controlled by one person or family who owned the land Compare rotten borough


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Word History and Origins

Origin of pocket borough1

First recorded in 1855–60
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Example Sentences

In February 1830 the doors of the House of Commons were opened to him through what was then called a “pocket borough.”

Had it not been for a pocket borough, Burke, that Cicero of English politics, would never have entered the halls of legislation.

It was their Parliamentary pocket-borough, and only their nominees could be elected.

Like Gatton, Reigate was a pocket borough, and sent two members to Parliament until 1832, when the two were reduced to one.

Thereafter, it was storekeeper Lincoln's pocket borough; its ruffians were his body-guard.

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