Entries linking to burgeois
1560s, "of or pertaining to the French middle class," from French bourgeois, from Old French burgeis, borjois "town dweller" (as distinct from "peasant"), from borc "town, village," from Frankish *burg "city" (via Germanic from PIE root *bhergh- (2) "high," with derivatives referring to hills and hill-forts).
The word was later extended to tradespeople or citizens of middle rank in other nations. The sense of "socially or aesthetically conventional; middle-class in manners or taste" is from 1764. Also (from the position of the upper class) "wanting in dignity or refinement, common, not aristocratic." As a noun, "citizen or freeman of a city," 1670s. In communist and socialist writing, "a capitalist, anyone deemed an exploiter of the proletariat" (1883).
"Bourgeois," I observed, "is an epithet which the riff-raff apply to what is respectable, and the aristocracy to what is decent." [Anthony Hope, "The Dolly Dialogues," 1907]
"But after all," Fanning was saying, "it's better to be a good ordinary bourgeois than a bad ordinary bohemian, or a sham aristocrat, or a secondrate intellectual ...." [Aldous Huxley, "After the Fireworks," 1930]
updated on October 10, 2012