bur·​gess | \ ˈbər-jəs How to pronounce burgess (audio) \

Definition of burgess

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : a citizen of a British borough
b : a representative of a borough, corporate town, or university in the British Parliament
2 : a representative in the popular branch of the legislature of colonial Maryland or Virginia


biographical name (1)
Bur·​gess | \ ˈbər-jəs How to pronounce Burgess (audio) \

Definition of Burgess (Entry 2 of 4)

Anthony 1917–1993 originally John Anthony Burgess Wilson British writer


biographical name (2)

Definition of Burgess (Entry 3 of 4)

(Frank) Gelett 1866–1951 American humorist and illustrator


biographical name (3)

Definition of Burgess (Entry 4 of 4)

Thornton Waldo 1874–1965 American writer

Examples of burgess in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Her husband, Colonel James L. Shellman, had been the first burgess or mayor of Westminster, a member of the Maryland legislature, and a prominent attorney. Frank Batavick, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, 11 June 2021 The Assembly made decisions the same way—governor, advisors and burgesses casting one vote each (the governor did wield a veto). Richard Brookhiser, Time, 19 Nov. 2019 On Tuesday, lawmakers, members of Congress and other guests will gather at historic Jamestown for ceremonies to commemorate the meeting of the burgesses. Washington Post, 28 July 2019 But 1619 saw another: July 30 to August 4 marked the first meeting of Jamestown’s general assembly — elected burgesses, discussing and voting on their own laws, the seed of self-rule in the new world. Nr Editors, National Review, 12 Sep. 2019 The weather was so hot that one burgess died on the third day. Washington Post, 30 July 2019 Big announcement on Mondays show. -- rick burgess (@bigvox) June 2, 2017 When contacted by AL.com, Burgess declined to comment. Leada Gore, AL.com, 2 June 2017 Sharkey has been a member of the board of burgesses (the equivalent of selectmen or Town Council) for 10 years, but this was his first attempt at the warden's seat. Janice Steinhagen, Courant Community, 18 May 2017 Big announcement on Mondays show. -- rick burgess (@bigvox) June 2, 2017 When contacted by AL.com, Burgess declined to comment. Leada Gore, AL.com, 2 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'burgess.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of burgess


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for burgess


Middle English burgeis, from Anglo-French, from borc town — more at bourg

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The first known use of burgess was in the 13th century

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Last Updated

14 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Burgess.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/burgess. Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.

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