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Boro vs. Borough — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Fiza Rafique — Updated on May 5, 2024
Boro is an abbreviation of borough, commonly used in certain contexts to denote a smaller, specific area, whereas a borough typically refers to a type of administrative division in various countries.
Boro vs. Borough — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Boro and Borough


Key Differences

Boro is often used as an informal shorthand for borough, especially in colloquial speech and certain regional dialects, including parts of New York City. Whereas, borough is a formal term used to describe an administrative division in various countries, including the UK and the US, often governed by a borough council.
Boro tends to appear in various informal contexts, such as in conversation or local newspapers. On the other hand, borough is used in more formal or legal contexts, such as in government documentation and official maps.
In the context of New York City, "boro" is frequently used to refer to one of the city’s five major administrative divisions. Whereas, in the UK, a borough is often a town or a district with local government status, with historical significance attached to its designation.
While boro is generally limited to specific regional uses, borough has broader applications and can denote different forms of administrative divisions across different regions and countries.
Despite their differences, both terms serve to denote areas within larger cities or regions, facilitating localized governance and administrative functions.

Comparison Chart


Informal, regional
Formal, widely recognized


Common in speech, local media
Used in official contexts, documents

Geographic Specificity

Often specific to NYC
Used internationally in various countries

Government Association

Lesser formal governance
Typically associated with formal governance

Frequency of Use

Less frequent
More common, especially in official capacities

Compare with Definitions


Informally used in conversation and local publications.
Check the boro news for updates.


Administrative division in various countries with local government.
Greenwich is a London borough.


Often found in regional dialects.
He's from the Brooklyn boro.


In some regions, comparable to a district or county.
The borough has its own education policy.


Abbreviation for borough, especially in NYC.
I live in the Queens boro.


Used in official and formal contexts.
The borough election results are in.


Used to denote smaller administrative regions within cities.
The boro meeting discussed local issues.


Historically a town with a market or corporate privileges.
They visited the historic borough of Gettysburg.


Less common in formal writing.
Plans for the boro were discussed informally.


In the UK, can be a town with a municipal corporation and rights granted by royal charter.
The borough council met yesterday.


(Jamaica) borrow


A borough is an administrative division in various English-speaking countries. In principle, the term borough designates a self-governing walled town, although in practice, official use of the term varies widely.


(US) borough


A self-governing incorporated town in some US states, such as New Jersey.


One of the five administrative units of New York City.


A civil division of the state of Alaska that is the equivalent of a county in most other US states.


A town having a municipal corporation and certain rights, such as self-government.


A town that sends a representative to Parliament.


A medieval group of fortified houses that formed a town having special privileges and rights.


(obsolete) A fortified town.


(rare) A town or city.


A town having a municipal corporation and certain traditional rights.


An administrative district in some cities, e.g., London.


An administrative unit of a city which, under most circumstances according to state or national law, would be considered a larger or more powerful entity; most commonly used in American English to define the five counties that make up New York City.


Other similar administrative units in cities and states in various parts of the world.


A district in Alaska having powers similar to a county.


An association of men who gave pledges or sureties to the king for the good behaviour of each other.


In England, an incorporated town that is not a city; also, a town that sends members to parliament; in Scotland, a body corporate, consisting of the inhabitants of a certain district, erected by the sovereign, with a certain jurisdiction; in America, an incorporated town or village, as in Pennsylvania and Connecticut.


The collective body of citizens or inhabitants of a borough; as, the borough voted to lay a tax.


An association of men who gave pledges or sureties to the king for the good behavior of each other.


One of the administrative divisions of a large city


An English town that forms the constituency of a member of Parliament

Common Curiosities

How is a borough governed?

A borough is typically governed by a borough council, which is responsible for local administrative duties.

What is a boro?

A boro is an informal abbreviation for borough, often used regionally.

Are boro and borough interchangeable?

While they can refer to similar areas, "boro" is informal and not universally understood outside specific contexts, unlike "borough."

What does borough mean?

A borough is an administrative division in various countries, characterized by its own local government.

Where is the term boro commonly used?

The term boro is commonly used in parts of New York City.

What are the responsibilities of a borough council?

Borough councils handle local governance, including planning, public services, and regulatory duties.

Can a city have multiple boroughs?

Yes, cities like New York City and London have multiple boroughs that help manage regional administrative functions.

What historical significance does a borough have in the UK?

In the UK, boroughs often have historical significance, with some established by royal charter.

How does one become a borough in the UK?

Traditionally, towns in the UK could become boroughs through royal charter or other legal designations.

Is boro used outside of the United States?

The term boro is predominantly used in the United States, specifically in New York City, and is less common elsewhere.

Do boroughs exist in countries other than the UK and the US?

Yes, forms of boroughs exist in other countries, though they may have different functions and structures.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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