borough

[bur-oh, buhr-oh]
noun
1.
(in certain states of the U.S.) an incorporated municipality smaller than a city.
2.
one of the five administrative divisions of New York City.
3.
British.
a.
an urban community incorporated by royal charter, similar to an incorporated city or municipality in the U.S.
b.
a town, area, or constituency represented by a Member of Parliament.
c.
(formerly) a fortified town organized as and having some of the powers of an independent country.
4.
(in Alaska) an administrative division similar to a county in other states.

Origin:
before 900; Middle English burw(e), borwg(h), borogh, bor(u)g, bur(u)g, burgh town, Old English burg fortified town; cognate with Old Norse borg, Old Saxon, Dutch burg, German Burg castle, Gothic baurgs city; MIr brí, brig, Welsh, Breton bre hill, Avestan bərəz- height; akin to Armenian bardzr, Hittite parkus high. See barrow2.

borough, burro, burrow.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
borough (ˈbʌrə)
 
n
1.  See also burgh a town, esp (in Britain) one that forms the constituency of an MP or that was originally incorporated by royal charter
2.  any of the 32 constituent divisions that together with the City of London make up Greater London
3.  any of the five constituent divisions of New York City
4.  (in the US) a self-governing incorporated municipality
5.  (in medieval England) a fortified town or village or a fort
6.  (in New Zealand) a small municipality with a governing body
 
[Old English burg; related to beorgan to shelter, Old Norse borg wall, Gothic baurgs city, Old High German burg fortified castle]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

borough
O.E. burg, burh "fortified place, walled town, dwelling or dwellings within a fortified enclosure," from P.Gmc. *burgs "hill fort, fortress" (cf. O.Fris. burg "castle," O.N. borg "wall, castle," O.H.G. burg, buruc "fortified place, citadel," Ger. Burg "castle," Goth. baurgs "city"), from PIE *bhrgh "high,"
with derivatives referring to hills, hill forts, fortified elevations (cf. O.E. beorg "hill," Welsh bera "stack, pyramid," Skt. bhrant-, Avestan brzant- "high," Gk. Pergamos, name of the citadel of Troy). In Ger. and O.N., chiefly as "fortress, castle;" in Goth. "town, civic community." Meaning shifted M.E. 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 Scot. form is burgh. The O.E. dative singular byrig is found in many place names as -bury.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Get tips for getting around, including to and from the airport and throughout the five boroughs.
Even in the outer boroughs of polite society, nobody should walk away from a meal feeling miserable.
Shows the five boroughs and the neighborhoods within them.
Bats with rabies have also been found in all five boroughs.
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