‘Burger’ and ‘burgher’

I can’t claim that incorrectly spelling burgher as burger is a common, everyday mistake. But the mix-up does occur, especially in student essays.

BurgerBurger and beer

  • a flat round of meat or other food that is fried or grilled and often served in a bread roll

Burgher

  • a (typically wealthy) citizen of a town or city
  • (in southern Africa) an Afrikaans citizen of a Boer republic; a civilian member of a local militia
  • (in Sri Lanka) a descendant of Dutch or Portuguese colonists

The spelling of burgher does vary in historical texts – the versions include burger, bourger and burgar. This is because the word was adopted from the original German or Dutch burger (meaning ‘citizen of a fortified town’) and only later assimilated to the English burgh (meaning ‘borough’).

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