Definition for BOR'OUGH

BOR'OUGH, n.1 [bur'ro; Goth. bairgs; Sax. burg, burh, beorh, beorg, byrig; Ir. brog; Fr. bourg; It. borgo; Sp. burgo; D. burg and berg; Dan. borg; Arm. bourg; G. burg and berg; Gr. πυργος; Ar. بُرْجٌ borachon; Sans. bura. This word, in Saxon, is interpreted a hill, heap, mountain, fortification, castle, tower, city, house and tomb. Hence Perga, in Pamphylia, Bergen, in Norway, Burgos, in Spain, and probably Prague, in Bohemia. In W. bwr, bwrc, signifies a wall, rampart, or work for defense, and bwrdais is a burgess. But the original sense probably is found in the verb Sax. beorgan, D. and G. bergen, Russ. beregu, to keep, or save, that is, to make close or secure. Hence it coincides with park, and L. parcus, saving. See the next word. If the noun is the primary word, denoting hill, this is from throwing together, collecting; a sense allied to that of making fast or close.]

Originally, a fortified city or town; hence a hill, for hills were selected for places of defense. But in later times the term city was substituted to denote an episcopal town, in which was the see of a bishop, and that of borough was retained for the rest. At present, the name is given appropriately to such towns and villages as send representatives or burgesses to Parliament. Some boroughs are incorporated, others are not. – Blackstone. Encyc.

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