bon vivant

bon vi·​vant | \ ˌbän-vē-ˈvänt How to pronounce bon vivant (audio) , ˌbōⁿ-vē-ˈväⁿ How to pronounce bon vivant (audio) \
plural bons vivants\ ˌbän-​vē-​ˈvän(t)s How to pronounce bons vivants (audio) , ˌbōⁿ-​vē-​ˈväⁿ(z) \ or bon vivants\ ˌbän-​vē-​ˈvän(t)s How to pronounce bon vivants (audio) , ˌbōⁿ-​vē-​ˈväⁿ(z) \

Definition of bon vivant

: 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.

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Did You Know?

Fans of fine French wine and cuisine won't be surprised to hear that the French language gave us a number of words for those who enjoy good living and good eating. Gourmet, gourmand, and gastronome come from French, as does bon vivant. In the late 17th century, English speakers borrowed this French phrase, which literally means "good liver." No, we don't mean liver, as in that iron-rich food your mother made you eat. We mean liver, as in "one who lives" - in this case, "one who lives well."

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

This tailor in Manhattan is the definition of the bon vivant. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "How to Be a Bon Vivant," 29 May 2015 Socialite, codebreaker, British government minister and bon vivant Jean Barker — better known by her title, Baroness Trumpington — has died. Jill Lawless, The Seattle Times, "Politician, Bletchley codebreaker Baroness Trumpington dies at 96," 27 Nov. 2018 Earlier — during, say, the 1940s or ‘50s — and the media practices of the era, the godding-up of famous athletes and the whitewashing of their flaws, would have allowed him to be painted as a colorful bon vivant, entertaining but harmless. Mike Sielski,, "Lenny Dykstra's latest incident leaves no doubt about who he really is | Mike Sielski," 25 May 2018 Saraiva is a Renaissance man in a way only our age could produce: graffiti artist/magazine editor/club owner/bon vivant. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "Was the Cartier Mansion the Real Estate Deal of the Century?," 6 Sep. 2016 Alsop was known as a bon vivant and a maverick, designing colorful and expressive modernist buildings that took playfulness to another level. Lauren Ro, Curbed, "Remembering ‘maverick’ British architect Will Alsop," 15 May 2018 Just as white bons vivants had been cultivating (some might say appropriating) black Harlem for generations, the straights and A-listers heading to Theater Four in their limos helped carry the news, like a virus, back with them. Jesse Green, New York Times, "A Brief History of Gay Theater, in Three Acts," 26 Feb. 2018 Before his brothers were killed, Ted Kennedy was the third wheel — a rude, ruddy bon vivant in contrast to the austere Bobby and polished Jack. Dan Zak,, "‘SNL’ thinks it’s figured out the Trump brothers, but does it get them right?," 14 Mar. 2018 Gary was also a renaissance man, a bon vivant, a cosmopolitan player, a walking encyclopedia of music history, a writer, a blogger, a DJ and more. Touré, Billboard, "Gary Harris Remembered: The Record Man Who Signed D'Angelo & Got 'Rapper's Delight' on the Radio," 26 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bon vivant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bon vivant

1674, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bon vivant

French, literally, good liver

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Dictionary Entries near bon vivant


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bon vivant

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bon voyage


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The first known use of bon vivant was in 1674

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More Definitions for bon vivant

bon vivant


English Language Learners Definition of bon vivant

formal : a person who likes going to parties and other social occasions and who enjoys good food, wine, etc.

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