Bougie or bourgie is used as a shortened, informal version of bourgeois used in African American Vernacular English. For example:

The car he drives is indicative of his [bougie | bourgie] lifestyle.

A look at Google ngrams

ngram of bougie/bourgie reveals that bougie is used much more often than bourgie.

But Merriam-Webster has a definition only for bourgie, listing bougie as a less common variant — which directly contradicts the Google Ngrams results.

The only other useful info I can find the site verysmartbrothas.com, which doesn't seem like a great source.

But which spelling is more correct?

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    I have not heard either of those. – Mick Feb 12 '17 at 17:46
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    Welcome to English Language and Usage. You should provide research to show that this an actual usage. – Cascabel Feb 12 '17 at 18:32
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    @Jones When you add in bourgeois to the ngram the other two become practically zero. See books.google.com/ngrams/… – k1eran Feb 12 '17 at 20:02
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    I have never ever heard bourgie with an r. The slang usage of bougie may does derive from bourgeois but the usage is very different. One term is marked as educated + and/or historical, and the other is contemporary slang. For purposes of the OP's question), I'd go with bougie. – Lambie Jan 3 '18 at 15:45
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    Interestingly, the song is called "Bad and Boujee" – Azor Ahai -- he him Jan 3 '18 at 18:13

From this ngram, both bougie and bourgie are so rare in comparison to bourgeois, that I'd suggest avoid using them and stick to the full word.

Even if they are not "wrong", they're far from idiomatic.

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| improve this answer | |
  • Yes, it makes sense that bougie and bourgie are seen less than bourgeois. They are both fairly limited to ebonics, which (I would assume) is not very well represented in google's dataset. Aside from that, I asked this question because I was trying to write down what someone was saying. – Jones Feb 16 '17 at 18:39
  • @Jones Ebonics as in African American Vernacular English ? Maybe you should update question regarding that usage. BTW Until now I'd never heard of Ebonics! – k1eran Feb 16 '17 at 18:45
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    I have never seen bourgie in my entire 60+ years. People say bougie for bourgeois all the time. Dunno about Afro-American dialectal usage, however. I prefer not to use the word Ebonics. – Lambie Jan 3 '18 at 15:43
  • -1 This comparison isn't useful at all. "Bougie" is used in completely different domains than "bourgeois" and a raw count isn't informative. – Azor Ahai -- he him Jan 3 '18 at 18:12
  • @Azor-Ahai my point was bougie barely used anywhere as can be seen from the tiny raw count. Thus, no need to investigate in depth its domain/usage. – k1eran Jan 3 '18 at 18:50

According to Urban Dictionary, Bougie is:

"Aspiring to be a higher class than one is. Derived from bourgeois - meaning middle/upper class, traditionally despised by communists."

Example in Urban Dictionary:

"When my friend Miya wears a blazer or Lucy gets a massage I call them bougie cause we're unemployed college students."

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  • I saw the Urban Dictionary definitions for both, but that don't really answer my question. – Jones Feb 16 '17 at 18:40
  • Urban Dictionary also has boojee, boujee, bougee, bourgy, etc. with similar definitions. – Quantum7 Feb 8 '18 at 7:54

I would say bourgie is more accurate. But that's my opinion, mostly because of the 'r'. Bougie is used more as a slang than anything else, bourgie is only known to and consciously used by people aware of the fact that they're referring to the shortened form of the word bourgeoise. Half of the people who say bougie and actually think of it spelled as bougie are likely not to be aware that it was derived from the word bourgeoise.

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  • 1
    Pardon me. *bourgeoisie. – Biko Jan 3 '18 at 15:29
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    I'm no linguist, but isn't the spelling determined primarily by how people spell it, as opposed to the etymology? – Jones Jan 3 '18 at 15:41

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