Definition of borough in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbərō/
(abbreviation bor.)


1A town or district that is an administrative unit, in particular.
Example sentences
  • But modern life has moved beyond such administrative units as boroughs and as a result, the need for wardens has diminished.
  • Wroughton Junior School was the borough's unit for dyslexia.
  • He said: ‘It's utterly incredulous that any council will actually just decide that it fancies dumping its problems on its neighbouring districts and boroughs.’
1.1An incorporated municipality in certain US states.
Example sentences
  • Erie was incorporated as a borough in 1805, having previously formed a part of Mill Creek Township; divided into two wards in 1840; granted a city charter in 1851; and divided into four wards in 1858.
  • Alpine was created as a Bergen County, N.J. borough April 8, 1903 from area taken from Harrington Township.
  • Aramingo is a borough crested out of the township of Northern Liberties, incorporated April 11,1850.
1.2Each of five divisions of New York City.
Example sentences
  • The NYPD patrols the five boroughs of New York City.
  • The Moveable Museum now travels to schools, community centers, parks, street fairs and other neighborhood organizations throughout the five boroughs of New York City.
  • Loan default collections for borrowers in the five boroughs of New York City also will be put on hold automatically until January, Paige said.
1.3In Alaska, a district corresponding to a county elsewhere in the US.
Example sentences
  • Stretching from the tip of the Alaska Peninsula to the easternmost Aleutian Islands, the Aleutians East Borough is like no other place on earth.
  • The Kodiak Island Borough welcomes you to Alaska’s beautiful Emerald Isle, its government and services.
  • Welcome to the City and Borough of Sitka, Alaska.
1.4British A town (as distinct from a city) with a corporation and privileges granted by a royal charter.
Example sentences
  • There are 16 places up for grabs on the youth forum, two for each of the county's districts and boroughs.
  • And Mr Davis warned that devolution would take power away from local communities and threaten ‘our historic counties, our ancient boroughs and our parishes’.
  • Their portion of council tax - being a unitary they set the borough and county parts as one - is 8.9 per cent.
1.5British historical A town sending representatives to Parliament.
Example sentences
  • He received various pensions, grants and sinecures from the crown, was a member of parliament for the borough of Warwick, and frequently served abroad.
  • Audley was a lawyer from Essex, who became town clerk of Colchester in 1514 and was elected to Parliament for the borough in 1523.
  • In parliamentary boroughs with freeman franchises, the power to bestow the freedom was in effect a power to create electors, a consideration which clearly shaped its use.


Old English burg, burh 'fortress, citadel', later 'fortified town', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch burg and German Burg. Compare with burgh.

  • The early words burg and burh meant ‘a fortress’. Later they became ‘a fortified town’ and eventually ‘town’, ‘district’. Burgh is a Scots form. Burgher (mid 16th century) meaning ‘inhabitant of a borough’ was reinforced by Dutch burger, from burg ‘castle’. Bourgeois (late 17th century) adopted from French (from late Latin burgus ‘castle’) is related. An animal's defensive place, its burrow (Middle English) is a variant of borough.

Words that rhyme with borough

burgh, Burra, curragh, demurrer, thorough

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: bor·ough

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