The bourgeoisie is a polysemous French term acause it can mean:
- a sociologically defined class, especially in contemporary times, referrin tae fowk wi a certain cultural an financial caipital alangin tae the middle or upper stratum o the middle cless: the upper (haute), middle (moyenne) an petty (petite) bourgeoisie (which are collectively designatit "the Bourgeoisie"). An affluent an eften opulent stratum o the middle class (caipitalist class) wha stuid opposite the proletariat cless;
- a legally defined cless o the Middle Ages tae the end o the "Ancien Régime" (Auld Regime) in Fraunce, that o indwallers havin the richts o cwwtizenship an poleetical richts in a ceety (comparable tae the German term Bürgertum an Bürger);
- an, oreeginally an generally, "those wha live in the borough", that is tae say, the fowk o the ceety (includin merchants an craftsmen), as opponed tae those o rural auries; in this sense, the bourgeoisie began tae grow in Europe frae the 11t century an particularly during the Renaissance o the 12t century, wi the first developments o rural exodus an urbanisation.