bourgeoisie

[boor-zhwah-zee; French boor-zhwa-zee]
noun
1.
the bourgeois class.
2.
(in Marxist theory) the class that, in contrast to the proletariat or wage-earning class, is primarily concerned with property values.

Origin:
1700–10; < French; see bourgeois1, -y3

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bourgeoisie (ˌbʊəʒwɑːˈziː)
 
n
1.  the middle classes
2.  (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

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

bourgeoisie
1707, "body of freemen in a French town; the French middle class," from Fr. bourgeois, from O.Fr. burgeis, borjois (12c.) "town dweller" (as distinct from "peasant"), from borc "town, village," from Frank. *burg "city" (see borough). Communist use for "the capitalist class
generally" attested from 1886.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
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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Example sentences
The quandary faced by the colonial bourgeoisie is probably a bit beyond the
  audience of this book.
These dogs are the bourgeoisie of the canine world, and they expect to be
  treated as such.
Rich bourgeoisie were able to spend lavishly on construction.
Only the bourgeoisie are overwhelmingly obsessed to meet, rub shoulders and
  party with white society.
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