plural bons vivants ˌbän-vē-ˈvän(t)s How to pronounce bon vivant (audio)
or bon vivants ˌbän-vē-ˈvän(t)s How to pronounce bon vivant (audio)
: a sociable person who has cultivated and refined tastes especially with respect to food and drink
She has become a bon vivant since moving to the city.

Did you know?

Do you consider yourself a bon vivant? If you’re not sure, perhaps a peek into the word’s origin will help. In French, the phrase literally means “good liver.” Fear not if you are among those who are underinformed about the state of their liver. The “liver” here is not the bodily organ, but one who lives; a bon vivant is one who lives well. English speakers have used bon vivant since the late 17th century to refer specifically to those who subscribe to a particular kind of good living—one that involves lots of social engagements and the enjoyment of fancy food and drink. This puts the term very much in the company of some other French words. Gourmet, gourmand, and gastronome all refer to those who love a fancy meal (though gourmand often carries the connotation of a tendency to overindulge). Bon appétit!

Examples of bon vivant in a Sentence

In addition to being a renowned travel writer, he was a bon vivant who loves to hold dinner parties and serve exquisite, elaborate meals.
Recent Examples on the Web But now there’s molten-honey lighting, curvaceous banquettes ideal for table-hopping, and walls adorned with whimsical murals of bons vivants in various states of lust and play. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, 10 Sep. 2023 The variety roaming California’s golden hills is largely the blended descendent of pigs that Spanish missionaries imported in the 1700s and the wild boar a Carmel-by-the-Sea bon vivant, George Gordon Moore, introduced in the 1920s. Los Angeles Times, 1 Apr. 2022 Dallas McLaughlin offers comic relief as the deeply cynical bon vivant King Herod and the Zane Camacho hits the show’s highest notes as the dastardly priest Annas. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 May 2023 But close examination of the Source Family, beyond its organic produce and hippie bon vivants, reveals an offbeat world that is perhaps too freaky for Goop Nation writ large. Erin Osmon, Los Angeles Times, 12 Apr. 2023 These days, most flâneurs are not bons vivants in top hats. Stephanie Rosenbloom, New York Times, 19 June 2023 The firm has plenty of experience with literary Southerners, having designed homes in both New Orleans and Greenville, Mississippi, for the late writer and bon vivant Julia Reed, as well as for the renowned historian Jon Meacham and his wife, Keith, who live in Nashville. ELLE Decor, 21 Sep. 2022 The ceiling was to be shared by a bon vivant, learned cardinal with a select audience of like-minded men. Monika Schmitter, Fortune, 21 Mar. 2023 Its founder, a bon vivant who once dated the widowed first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, held all the strings, and pulled them in ways that Mr. Kohn often disliked. Fred A. Bernstein, Washington Post, 9 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bon vivant.' 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 liver

First Known Use

1674, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bon vivant was in 1674


Dictionary Entries Near bon vivant

Cite this Entry

“Bon vivant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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