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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
borough council
▪ There is, too, a grant to assist inner London boroughs taking on education powers.
▪ New legislation may allow inner London boroughs to take over education, perhaps on a piecemeal basis.
▪ The paper started by zeroing in on the inner London boroughs.
▪ Between 1971-8 and 1978-84 the largest upward shifts in rates of population change all occurred in Inner London boroughs.
▪ And riders are also being asked to tell council leaders what they need in Britain's biggest metropolitan borough, Doncaster.
▪ Sixty years later Camberwell was a metropolitan borough whose population had multiplied more than six fold to 259,339.
▪ The metropolitan boroughs also vary in size with a minimum near 200,000.
▪ Somewhat more of a variation occurs if we examine the eight capped metropolitan boroughs.
▪ Of the 19 LEAs involved, 12 were metropolitan boroughs and 7 were counties.
▪ London boroughs spent more than other metropolitan boroughs, which in turn spent more than county authorities.
▪ In fact they became the rotten boroughs of later centuries.
▪ The borough council recognises that its newer cemeteries such as Acklam and Thorntree are in need of attention.
▪ The park, once the home of the Gladstone family, has been given over by the borough council.
▪ District and borough councils will become wholly responsible for cleaning all roads except motorways.
▪ Darlington borough council is to be approached for a donation.
▪ The borough council publication centres on the City Challenge scheme and the Environment City award.
▪ A year later he switched to Labour, and within six years he had won a seat on Hounslow borough council.
▪ A recent report by borough councillor and community health council chairwoman Eleanor Young made the point clearly.
▪ And a report to Darlington borough councillors says the plans could affect small housing developments to the south of Court Arcade.
▪ The Sainsbury plans have received wholehearted support from borough councillors anxious to attract a prestigious development to the Grange Road site.
▪ In Great Britain there are some 20,650 district and borough councillors and some 4,100 county, regional and islands councillors.
▪ Darlington borough councillors heard the two-storey extension at Walworth Castle Hotel would not affect the ancient part of the building.
▪ This was followed by the Local Government Act 1888 which established county councils and county borough councils.
▪ The three main county boroughs were to be retained and five counties were to replace the existing thirteen.
▪ First, there is the problem of the former county boroughs.
Counties and county boroughs became responsible for child care under the 1948 Children Act.
▪ The county comprised four districts based on city regions surrounding the former county boroughs of Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham.
▪ They were to become boroughs with the status of counties - or county boroughs.
▪ Among county boroughs the range was also extreme: Canterbury had only 33,000 souls while Birmingham had 1. 1 million citizens.
▪ Middlesbrough had been joined with five neighbouring local authorities to form the county borough of Teesside.
▪ the borough of Brooklyn in New York City
▪ A spokesman for the borough engineer's department said the matter would be looked into.
▪ Bimpson recognised a business opportunity when he discovered that the government had secured domain names for all the schools in his borough.
▪ Croydon is indeed a borough fortunate in its parliamentary representation.
▪ Furthermore, a temporary local heroin drought was created in the borough.
▪ I walk the boundaries of the borough every day and I have dowsed these lines many times.
▪ Many of those boroughs also have the worst housing, longest waiting lists and highest poverty levels of the country.
▪ The dreams of nineteenth-century poets polluted the psychic atmosphere of the great boroughs and suburbs of New York.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Borough \Bor"ough\, n. [See Borrow.] (O. Eng. Law)

  1. An association of men who gave pledges or sureties to the king for the good behavior of each other.

  2. The pledge or surety thus given.
    --Blackstone. Tomlins.


Borough \Bor"ough\, n. [OE. burgh, burw, boru, port, town, burrow, AS. burh, burg; akin to Icel., Sw., & Dan. borg, OS. & D. burg, OHG. puruc, purc, MHG. burc, G. burg, Goth. ba['u]rgs; and from the root of AS. beorgan to hide, save, defend, G. bergen; or perh. from that of AS. beorg hill, mountain. [root]95. See Bury, v. t., and cf. Burrow, Burg, Bury, n., Burgess, Iceberg, Borrow, Harbor, Hauberk.]

  1. In England, an incorporated town that is not a city; also, a town that sends members to parliament; in Scotland, a body corporate, consisting of the inhabitants of a certain district, erected by the sovereign, with a certain jurisdiction; in America, an incorporated town or village, as in Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
    --Burrill. Erskine.

  2. The collective body of citizens or inhabitants of a borough; as, the borough voted to lay a tax.

    Close borough, or Pocket borough, a borough having the right of sending a member to Parliament, whose nomination is in the hands of a single person.

    Rotten borough, a name given to any borough which, at the time of the passage of the Reform Bill of 1832, contained but few voters, yet retained the privilege of sending a member to Parliament.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

Old English burg, burh "a dwelling or dwellings within a fortified enclosure," from Proto-Germanic *burgs "hill fort, fortress" (cognates: Old Frisian burg "castle," Old Norse borg "wall, castle," Old High German burg, buruc "fortified place, citadel," German Burg "castle," Gothic baurgs "city"), from PIE root *bhergh- (2) "high," with derivatives referring to hills, hill forts, fortified elevations (source also of Old English beorg "hill;" see barrow (n.2)).\n

\nIn German and Old Norse, chiefly as "fortress, castle;" in Gothic, "town, civic community." Meaning shifted in Middle English from "fortress," to "fortified town," to simply "town" (especially one possessing municipal organization or sending representatives to Parliament). In U.S. (originally Pennsylvania, 1718) often an incorporated town; in Alaska, however, it is the equivalent of a county. The Scottish form is burgh. The Old English dative singular byrig survives in many place names as -bury.


n. 1 (context obsolete English) A fortified town. 2 (context rare English) A town or city. 3 A town having a municipal corporation and certain traditional rights. 4 An administrative district in some cities, e.g., London.

  1. n. one of the administrative divisions of a large city

  2. an English town that forms the constituency of a member of Parliament

Borough (United States)

A borough in some U.S. states is a unit of local government or other administrative division below the level of the state. The term is currently used in six states:

  • A type of municipality: Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania (also formerly Minnesota)
  • A subdivision of a consolidated city, corresponding to another present or previous political subdivision: New York and Virginia
  • In Alaska only, a borough is a county-equivalent.
Borough (New Jersey)

A borough (sometimes abbreviated Boro on road signs), in the context of local government in the U.S. state of New Jersey, refers to one of five types and one of eleven forms of municipal government (in addition to those established under a Special Charter).

Though it is now the most common form of government in New Jersey, by 1875 only 17 boroughs had been created, all by special acts of the legislature. These original boroughs were subdivisions of townships, established by state charter; Elizabeth was the first, established by royal charter in 1740, within the now defunct Elizabeth Township. About half of them had been dissolved, or changed into other forms of government — often cities. In 1875, a constitutional amendment prohibited such local or special legislation.

The Borough Act of 1878 allowed any township (or portion thereof) with a land area of no more than four square miles and a population not exceeding 5,000, to establish itself as an independent borough through a petition and referendum process on a self-executing basis. As enacted, a borough would be governed by an elected mayor (serving a one-year term) and a six-member council (elected to staggered three-year terms). The mayor would preside at council meetings, but had no vote except to break ties.

In 1894, the Legislature passed an act requiring each township to have a single school district. A wave of borough incorporations followed, as one part of several townships decided that it would prefer the cost of being a separate municipality to paying for the other schools; this wave was called boroughitis by commentators at the time.

The Borough Act of 1897 amended the original Act, eliminating the self-executing incorporation feature of the earlier legislation. Henceforth, newly incorporated boroughs (or those seeking to dissolve or increase or decrease in size) required approval of the legislature. The elected mayor and six-member council were retained, with the mayor now serving a two-year term.

The Borough Act of 1987 was created to streamline borough law and clear away amendments, changes and contradictory rules that had accumulated over the century of the Borough's existence as a form of government. The 1987 Act allowed for the delegation of executive responsibility to an appointed administrator.

Traditionally, voters elect a mayor and six council-members at-large in a partisan election. Only two boroughs, Roselle and Roselle Park have ward structures with councils having 5 ward members and one at-large. The borough system has a weak mayor and the council performs most legislative and executive functions. This form of local government is used by 39% of the municipalities in New Jersey.


A borough is an administrative division in various countries. In principle, the term borough designates a self-governing walled town, although in practice, official use of the term varies widely.

The word borough derives from common Germanic *Burg, meaning fort: compare with bury, burgh and brough (England), burgh (Scotland), Burg (Germany), borg (Scandinavia), burcht (Dutch), boarch (West Frisian), and the Germanic borrowing present in neighbouring Indo-european languages such as borgo (Italian), bourg (French), burgo (Spanish and Portuguese), burg (Romanian), purg ( Kajkavian) and durg (दर्ग) (Hindi) and arg (ارگ) ( Persian). The incidence of these words as suffixes to place names (for example, Aldeburgh, Bamburgh, Tilbury, Tilburg, Strasbourg ( Strossburi in the local dialect), Luxembourg, Edinburgh, Grundisburgh, Hamburg, Gothenburg) usually indicates that they were once fortified settlements.

In the Middle Ages, boroughs were settlements in England that were granted some self-government; burghs were the Scottish equivalent. In medieval England, boroughs were also entitled to elect members of parliament. The use of the word borough probably derives from the burghal system of Alfred the Great. Alfred set up a system of defensive strong points ( Burhs); in order to maintain these settlements, he granted them a degree of autonomy. After the Norman Conquest, when certain towns were granted self-governance, the concept of the burh/borough seems to have been reused to mean a self-governing settlement.

The concept of the borough has been used repeatedly (and often differently) throughout the world. Often, a borough is a single town with its own local government. However, in some cities it is a subdivision of the city (for example, New York City, London, and Montreal). In such cases, the borough will normally have either limited powers delegated to it by the city's local government, or no powers at all. In other places, such as the U.S. state of Alaska, borough designates a whole region; Alaska's largest borough, the North Slope Borough, is comparable in area to the entire United Kingdom, although its population is less than that of Swanage on England's south coast with around 9,600 inhabitants. In Australia, a borough was once a self-governing small town, but this designation has all but vanished, except for the only remaining borough in the country, which is the Borough of Queenscliffe.

Boroughs as administrative units are to be found in Ireland and the United Kingdom, more specifically in England and Northern Ireland. Boroughs also exist in the Canadian province of Quebec and formerly in Ontario, in some states of the United States, in Israel, formerly in New Zealand and only one left in Australia.

Borough (Pennsylvania)

In the U.S. commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a borough (or a boro) is a self-governing municipal entity, best thought of as a town usually smaller than a city, but with a similar population density in its residential areas. Boros also tend to have more developed business districts and concentrations of public and commercial office buildings, including court houses. Both are larger, less spacious, more developed than the relatively rural townships—which often have the greater territory and even surround boros of a related or even the same name. There are 958 boroughs in Pennsylvania, but only one town. The alternative spelling "boro" is sometimes used, including official notation.

All municipalities in Pennsylvania are classified as either cities, boroughs, or townships. The only exception is the town of Bloomsburg, which is recognized by state government as the only incorporated town in Pennsylvania, and uses the distinction in its promotion. Many home rule municipalities remain classified as boroughs or townships for certain purposes even if the state's Borough and Township Codes no longer apply to them.

Borough (New York City)

New York City, in the U.S. state of New York, is composed of five boroughs. They are Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. Each borough also has coextensive boundaries as a county of New York State. The county governments were dissolved when New York City consolidated in 1898, along with all city, town, and village governments within each county. If the boroughs were each independent cities, four of the boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx) would be among the ten most populous cities in the United States; these same boroughs are coextensive with the four most densely populated counties in the United States (New York [Manhattan], Kings [Brooklyn], Bronx, and Queens).

The term borough was adopted to describe a unique form of governmental administration for each of the five fundamental constituent parts of the newly consolidated city in 1898. Under New York State Law, a "borough" is a municipal corporation that is created when a county is merged with populated areas within it. This differs significantly from typical borough forms of government used in Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, other states, Greater London, and elsewhere.

Borough (Connecticut)

In the US state of Connecticut, a borough is an incorporated section of a town. Borough governments are not autonomous and are subordinate to the government of the town to which they belong. For example, Willimantic is a borough in Windham. A borough is a clearly defined municipality and provides some municipal services, such as police and fire services, garbage collection, street lighting and maintenance, management of cemeteries, and building code enforcement. Other municipal services not provided by the borough are provided by the parent town. Connecticut boroughs are administratively similar to villages in New York.

Usage examples of "borough".

This plan being rejected, Lord John Russell proposed another, which would have extended the right of electing members to populous towns then unrepresented in parliament, and disfranchise every borough convicted hereafter of corruption.

After expatiating on the advantages connected with the Scotch representation, he remarked that his objection to the present motion was its application, as a single instance of reform in a borough, to the general question.

On the motion that a new writ should issue for the borough of Ashburton, for the election of a member in place of Mr.

Colonel Maberly moved, with reference to the borough of Northampton, that a select committee be appointed to take into consideration the petition which had been presented to the house, complaining of the conduct of the corporation.

It was inconvenient, unjust, and degrading to the character of the house, it was asserted, to descend into the politics of borough elections, and that applications like this ought to be resisted.

Penryn, and that such practices were not new or casual in the borough, the attention of the house having been called to similar practices in the years 1807 and 1819.

Keck proposed the extension of the franchise to the hundreds, while Lord John Russell contended that the borough, like that of Grampound, should be disfranchised altogether.

Protestant interests against the influx and increase of the Roman Catholic party, one mode of securing this, and at the same time of purifying the representation, would be to abolish the borough market, which had now been thrown open to Catholics.

He would like to see the justice of the peace, or magistrate, who would fine a knight of the shire, or independent member of an independent borough, who in the morning might possibly be brought before him in a state presenting a good imitation of the odious and ungodly crime of drunkenness, which called down the wrath of the moral legislators of the age of King James.

The motion, which was lost, had been favoured by certain occurrences at Newark, which were brought before the house of commons on the 1st of March, on a petition from some of the electors of that borough against the Duke of Newcastle.

The force of example was now added to the existing motives for change, and the notion of transferring the privileges of a corrupt borough to an unrepresented place, or giving the elective franchise to a populous town, was discarded.

Macaulay, a nominee of Lord Lansdowne for the borough of Calne, in favour of the bill, elicited much applause.

It was proposed that the house should go into committee on the 12th of July, when Lord Maitland, one of the members for Appleby, rose to oppose the disfranchisement of that borough, on the score of a mistake in the population returns.

They asked, whether the progress of this great measure was to be stopped to enter into the examination of a particular case of so insignificant a borough as Appleby?

It went to establish a new system of representation in every county, borough, and town in the United Kingdom, with the exception of the two universities.