plural bons mots bōⁿ-ˈmō(z) How to pronounce bon mot (audio) or bon mots bōⁿ-ˈmō(z) How to pronounce bon mot (audio)
: a clever remark : witticism
his bons mots were being repeated … from coast to coastW. J. Fisher

Examples of bon mot in a Sentence

She had a sparkling bon mot for every occasion.
Recent Examples on the Web The character never has to search long for a bon mot. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 24 Apr. 2023 Only Matt Smith’s Daemon and maybe Eve Best’s Princess Rhaenys (at least in the season’s penultimate episode) seem capable of getting the joke or dropping a bon mot. Los Angeles Times, 19 Oct. 2022 One is reminded of Balzac’s bon mot that behind every great fortune lies a great crime. Brian P. Kelly, WSJ, 9 Sep. 2022 But her encounters with the queen of the bon mot weren’t the point. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 15 Aug. 2022 In one conspicuous sense, though, the bon mot—or perhaps mal mot—elicited by Vinson’s death clashes with the dominant perception of Frankfurter. Justin Driver, The Atlantic, 12 Aug. 2022 The affable Democrat from Kentucky will hold court with gaggles of reporters during votes, frequently offering several minutes of extended analysis of the state of play for the Democratic agenda, peppered with the occasional bon mot. Grace Segers, The New Republic, 22 Sep. 2021 Depending on his place in the hierarchy, any one of the guests would be expected to rise and disgorge a brief, bon mot–studded toast. TheWeek, 17 May 2020 But during the creation process, some bon mots were just too good for this world, and died nobly on the cutting room floor. Dan Snierson,, 30 Jan. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bon mot.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, literally, good word

First Known Use

1713, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bon mot was in 1713

Dictionary Entries Near bon mot

Cite this Entry

“Bon mot.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

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