Definition of burgher in English:



  • 1humorous, archaic A citizen of a town or city, typically a member of the wealthy bourgeoisie.

    ‘the poem is not the sort of thing the sturdy burghers of Manchester would wish to read’
    • ‘Holland was from the mid-1600s a Republic, so the wealthy merchants, burghers, and businessmen became the defacto rulers of the town and country - much as it is in the U.S. today.’
    • ‘I'd feel better, though, if the city's burghers had shown some concern about the defacing and trashing that define this city every day.’
    • ‘It had a lively artistic community and its wealthy burghers, together with the Church and the court at Brussels, provided patrons.’
    • ‘These works were initially commissioned by members of the church, noblemen, and wealthy burghers.’
    • ‘The painter does, however, bring men into the scene, and visitors from every walk of life - wealthy families, burghers, clergymen, farmers.’
    resident, occupant, occupier, dweller, settler
    View synonyms
  • 2historical (in southern Africa) an Afrikaans citizen of a Boer Republic.

    • ‘The company soon abandoned the plan, however, and in 1640 opened the colony to vrij burghers (free citizens), promising two hundred acres for each head of household.’
    • ‘Dr Leander Starr Jameson led a group of over 500 men with the intention of taking control of the town, but was met and overpowered by the burghers in Krugersdorp, 30 kilometres north west of the town.’
    • ‘They were full burghers of the Transvaal, and as burghers it was their first duty to defend the republic.’
    • ‘The burghers who died while serving with the National Scouts and the Orange River Colony volunteers who lost their lives while serving with the British.’
    1. 2.1(in southern Africa) a civilian member of a local militia unit.
      • ‘These men became free burghers or citizens who had gained their release from their contracts with the VOC by taking up plots of land and by entering into a burgher militia.’
      • ‘He was also a Captain in the burgher militia, making him the first known Uys to partake in the long military tradition of the family in South Africa.’
      inhabitant, resident, townsman, townswoman, native, local
      View synonyms
  • 3A descendant of a Dutch or Portuguese colonist in Sri Lanka.

    • ‘His mother was a Burgher and his father was of Tamil heritage.’
    • ‘These are Sinhalese but also Tamils, Burghers and Muslims.’
    • ‘The applicants are Sri Lankan nationals of the Burgher ethnic minority group.’
    • ‘The SEP is the only party offering a program of struggle to unite working people - Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and Burgher, young and old, men and women - to fight for their social needs and democratic aspirations.’
    • ‘Besides the majority Sinhala Buddhists, the nation also includes Sri Lankan Tamils, Tamils of recent Indian origin, Muslims, and Burghers, descendants of intermarriages between Sri Lankans and Europeans.’
    • ‘Be it Muslims or Christians in India, Hindus in Bangladesh or Pakistan or Tamils or Burghers in Sri Lanka, discrimination and insecurity forms the core of concerns and existence of minorities.’
    • ‘The Sinhalese and Tamils are in the majority, and there are also Muslims, aboriginal Veddahs, Malaysians and Burghers (people of mixed European and Sri Lankan heritage).’
    • ‘As a result of that, the Burghers left for Australia and the Tamils stayed behind to fight.’
    • ‘If I had married a Burgher I'd have emigrated to Australia.’
    • ‘Then we would have reached agreement between all democratic political parties and groups representing all our peoples - the Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Malay, and Burgher citizens of Sri Lanka.’
    • ‘They are also the only places where Sinhalese, Tamils and Burghers meet, for after 1983 the three groups, like many other warring groups from other parts of the world, go their separate ways.’
    • ‘I went to school with Tamils, Sinhalese and members of the Burgher community.’
    • ‘Then follows a comparison of the performance of the main categories of skippers: Burghers, Chinese, Malays and the most important group of Sulawesians.’


Middle English: from burgh, reinforced by Dutch burger, from burg castle (see borough).