rotten borough


rotten borough
1. (before the Reform Bill of 1832) any English borough that had very few voters yet was represented in Parliament.
2. an election district that has more representatives in a legislative body than the number of its constituents would normally call for.
[1805-15]

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▪ British history
      depopulated election district that retains its original representation. The term was first applied by English parliamentary reformers of the early 19th century to such constituencies maintained by the crown or by an aristocratic patron to control seats in the House of Commons. Just before the passage of the Reform Act of 1832, more than 140 parliamentary seats of a total of 658 were in rotten boroughs, 50 of which had fewer than 50 voters. See also pocket borough.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Rotten borough — Rotten Rot ten, a. [Icel. rotinn; akin to Sw. rutten, Dan. radden. See {Rot}.] Having rotted; putrid; decayed; as, a rotten apple; rotten meat. Hence: (a) Offensive to the smell; fetid; disgusting. [1913 Webster] You common cry of curs! whose… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Rotten 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

  • Rotten Borough —   [ rɔtn bʌrə, englisch], Borough …   Universal-Lexikon

  • rotten borough — ► NOUN Brit. historical ▪ (before the Reform Act of 1832) a borough that was able to elect an MP though having very few voters …   English terms dictionary

  • rotten borough — n. 1. in England (before the Reform Act of 1832), a borough with only a few voters but with the right to send a representative to Parliament 2. any electoral district or political unit with greater representation than its population warrants …   English World dictionary

  • Rotten Borough — Der Begriff rotten borough (verfaulte Stadt) steht für Wahlkreise im Königreich England (vor 1707), dem Königreich Großbritannien (1707 1801), dem Königreich Irland (1541 1801) und dem Vereinigten Königreich von Großbritannien und Irland (ab… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Rotten borough — Der Begriff rotten borough (verfaulte Stadt) steht für Wahlkreise im Königreich England (vor 1707), dem Königreich Großbritannien (1707–1801), dem Königreich Irland (1541–1801) und dem Vereinigten Königreich von Großbritannien und Irland (ab… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • rotten borough — noun A borough that was represented in Parliament although it had very few voters. See Also: safe seat …   Wiktionary

  • rotten borough — noun Brit. (before the Reform Act of 1832) a borough that was able to elect an MP though having very few voters …   English new terms dictionary

  • rotten borough — rot′ten bor′ough n. 1) why (before the Reform Bill of 1832) an English borough that had very few voters yet was represented in Parliament 2) why any election district that has more representatives in a legislative body than the number of its… …   From formal English to slang


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