- (before the Reform Bill of 1832) any English borough that had very few voters yet was represented in Parliament.
- an election district that has more representatives in a legislative body than the number of its constituents would normally call for.
Origin of rotten borough
First recorded in 1805–15
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for rotten borough
Historical Examples of rotten borough
Here I came up with my sons, and we entered the rotten-borough together.Rural Rides
- (before the Reform Act of 1832) any of certain English parliamentary constituencies with only a very few electorsCompare pocket borough
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