English and Scottish: status name from Middle English burge(i)s, Old French burgeis ‘inhabitant and (usually) freeman of a (fortified) town’ (see Burke), especially one with municipal rights and duties. Burgesses generally had tenure of land or buildings from a landlord by burgage. In medieval England burgage involved the payment of a fixed money rent (as opposed to payment in kind); in Scotland it involved payment in service, guarding the town. The -eis ending is from Latin -ensis (modern English -ese as in Portuguese). Compare Burger.