pocket borough


pocket borough
1. (before the Reform Bill of 1832) any English borough whose representatives in Parliament were controlled by an individual or family.
2. an election district under the control of an individual, family, or group.
[1855-60]

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▪ British history
      election district that is controlled by, or “in the pocket” of, one person or family. The term was used by 19th-century English parliamentary reformers to describe the many boroughs in which a relatively small population was either bribed or coerced by the leading family or landowners to elect their representatives to Parliament. As a result, Parliament was controlled by the landed gentry and seats were filled by representatives who wanted to please their patrons rather than their constituents. Reforms passed in 1832 and 1867 ended this practice by widening the franchise and redistributing parliamentary seats to reflect the population shift from rural areas to the industrial towns.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pocket borough — Pocket Pock et (p[o^]k [e^]t), n. [OE. poket, Prov. F. & OF. poquette, F. pochette, dim. fr. poque, pouque, F. poche; probably of Teutonic origin. See {Poke} a pocket, and cf. {Poach} to cook eggs, to plunder, and {Pouch}.] 1. A bag or pouch;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Pocket borough — 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.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pocket borough — n. in Great Britain before 1832, a borough whose representation in Parliament was controlled by one family or person …   English World dictionary

  • pocket borough — noun a sparsely populated borough in which all or most of the land is owned by a single family • Hypernyms: ↑borough …   Useful english dictionary

  • POCKET BOROUGH —    a borough in which the influence of some magnate of the place determines the voting at an election time, a thing pretty much of the past …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • pocket borough —  A British parliamentary borough controlled by one person or group; common before parliamentary reforms of 1832 …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • pocket borough — noun historical (in the UK) a borough in which the election of political representatives was controlled by one person or family …   English new terms dictionary

  • pocket borough — pock′et bor ough n. why (before 1832) an English borough whose representation in Parliament was controlled by an individual or family …   From formal English to slang

  • pocket borough — noun Date: 1856 an English constituency controlled before parliamentary reform by a single person or family …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Pocket — Pock et (p[o^]k [e^]t), n. [OE. poket, Prov. F. & OF. poquette, F. pochette, dim. fr. poque, pouque, F. poche; probably of Teutonic origin. See {Poke} a pocket, and cf. {Poach} to cook eggs, to plunder, and {Pouch}.] 1. A bag or pouch;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


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