rotten borough

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Related to Rotten boroughs: List of rotten boroughs, pocket boroughs

rotten borough

n.
An election district having only a few voters but the same voting power as other more populous districts.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

rotten borough

n
1. (Historical Terms) (before the Reform Act of 1832) any of certain English parliamentary constituencies with only a very few electors. Compare pocket borough
2. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) (before the Reform Act of 1832) any of certain English parliamentary constituencies with only a very few electors. Compare pocket borough
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

rot′ten bor′ough


n.
1. (before the Reform Bill of 1832) an English borough that had very few voters yet was represented in Parliament.
2. any election district that has more representatives in a legislative body than the number of its constituents would normally call for.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.rotten borough - an English parliamentary constituency with few electors
borough - an English town that forms the constituency of a member of parliament
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
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References in classic literature ?
Brooke, taking up the paper and trying to bear the attack as easily as his neighbor did, but coloring and smiling rather nervously; "that about roaring himself red at rotten boroughs--I never made a speech about rotten boroughs in my life.
Even political principle must have been in danger of relaxation under such circumstances; and the violin, faithful to rotten boroughs, must have been tempted to fraternize in a demoralizing way with a reforming violoncello.
| 1832: The Great Reform Bill, an electoral measure which disenfranchised rotten boroughs, became law.
In many ways this is worse than the rotten boroughs of old.
His eyes would go red with passion when he spoke about the unfairness of large rapidly growing industrial cities having no representation in Parliament while a handful of voters in ancient, tiny, "rotten boroughs" were able to return easily bribed MPs.
It is far worse than the corruption of the rotten boroughs in centuries gone by, or the barefaced bribery as described by Charles Dickens in the notorious Eatanswill election in his novel, The Pickwick Papers.
In fact, some of what has gone on from the leave side of the debate would be more appropriate to the so-called "rotten boroughs" of the past than a modern democracy.
The result of not updating delimitations in accordance with a recently conducted census became apparent in England, in the shape of 'rotten boroughs', the most notorious example being Old Sarum, which did not have any inhabitants by the 18th century, but which still had a seat in Parliament dating back to the 13th century, when it had been a bustling town, containing a castle and a cathedral.
He believed that reforming Parliament and abolishing the rotten boroughs would help to end the poverty of farm labourers.
But that did not mean no women had the vote.The system that created rotten boroughs with two MPs and huge swathes of newly industrialised cities with none was not efficient enough to keep every single woman in the land off the books.