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[boo r-zhwah-zee; French boor-zhwa-zee] /ˌbʊər ʒwɑˈzi; French bur ʒwaˈzi/
the bourgeois class.
(in Marxist theory) the class that, in contrast to the proletariat or wage-earning class, is primarily concerned with property values.
Origin of bourgeoisie
1700-10; < French; see bourgeois1, -y3 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for bourgeoisie


noun the bourgeoisie
the middle classes
(in Marxist thought) the ruling class of the two basic classes of capitalist society, consisting of capitalists, manufacturers, bankers, and other employers. The bourgeoisie owns the most important of the means of production, through which it exploits the working class
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for bourgeoisie

1707, "body of freemen in a French town; the French middle class," from French bourgeois, from Old French burgeis, borjois (12c.) "town dweller" (as distinct from "peasant"), from borc "town, village," from Frankish *burg "city" (see borough). Communist use for "the capitalist class generally" attested from 1886.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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bourgeoisie in Culture
bourgeoisie [(boor-zhwah-zee)]

In general, the middle class. Applied to the Middle Ages, it refers to townspeople, who were neither nobles nor peasants. In Marxism it refers to those who control the means of production and do not live directly by the sale of their labor. Karl Marx distinguished between the “haute” (high) bourgeoisie (industrialists and financiers) and the “petite” (small or “petty”) bourgeoisie (shopkeepers, self-employed artisans, lawyers). Marxism postulates a fundamental conflict between the interests of the bourgeoisie and those of the propertyless workers, the proletariat.

Note: “Bourgeois” may also refer to mediocre taste or to the flashy display of wealth by the nouveau riche.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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