From Middle English burgeis, from Anglo-Norman burgeis, of Germanic origin; either from Late Latin burgensis < *burgus or Frankish, both from Proto-Germanic *burgz (“stronghold, city”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰerǵʰ-. See also bourgeois, burgish.
burgess (plural burgesses)
- An inhabitant of a borough with full rights; a citizen.
- 1892, Walter Besant, chapter III, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, […], OCLC 16832619:
- In former days every tavern of repute kept such a room for its own select circle, a club, or society, of habitués, who met every evening, for a pipe and a cheerful glass. In this way all respectable burgesses, down to fifty years ago, spent their evenings.
- (historical) A town magistrate.
- (historical, Britain) A representative of a borough in the Parliament.
- (historical, US) A member of the House of Burgesses, a legislative body in colonial America, established by the Virginia Company to provide civil rule in the colonies.