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 bon vivant (audio) , ˌbōⁿ-​vē-​ˈväⁿ(z) \ or bon vivants\ ˌbän-​vē-​ˈvän(t)s How to pronounce bon vivant (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 In his search for collaborators (who are being shot by a firing squad in the street), Piller tracks down Van Meegeren, an erstwhile artist, art dealer and bon vivant. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘The Last Vermeer’ squanders Guy Pearce and high-stakes art forgery," 19 Nov. 2020 Pearce and Bang are perfectly juxtaposed in their cat-and-mouse-game of art crime with Bang's handsome, dark-haired, towering Piller versus Pearce’s wily, frizzy gray-haired bon vivant van Meegeren. Shaena Montanari, The Arizona Republic, "Nazi art history mystery 'The Last Vermeer' proves you shouldn't paint with a broad brush," 18 Nov. 2020 Kohn was previously cooking at Scala’s Bistro, part of a large group of hotels and restaurants, and found DuVall’s bon vivant lifestyle difficult to get used to at first. Janelle Bitker,, "Prolific S.F. restaurateur Sam DuVall, who opened Izzy's and dozens more, dies at 80," 9 Nov. 2020 Murray walks around carrying his own bon vivant spotlight. Armond White, National Review, "Sofia Coppola’s Cinema-of-Privilege," 23 Oct. 2020 Even in the bon vivant capital of the world, the gravity of the current state of things could be felt throughout Paris Fashion Week. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "The 7 Best Beauty Moments of Paris Fashion Week," 8 Oct. 2020 Among the literary gems produced by the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian empire, this memoir by Gregor von Rezzori—writer, publisher, TV personality and bon vivant—shines bright as the sun. Lynn Freed, WSJ, "Five Best: Lynn Freed on Paradises Lost," 11 Sep. 2020 Bill Murray as a bon vivant gentleman mentoring a younger woman through an existential crisis? Anne Cohen,, "Rashida Jones & Bill Murray Play A Father-Daughter Duo In Sofia Coppola’s Latest Movie," 20 Aug. 2020 Outside, Orchard Street was gloomy with evening shadows; the sidewalks, usually crowded with bons vivants waiting for tables, were empty. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, "The Chefs Behind Contra and Wildair Reincarnate," 1 May 2020

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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The first known use of bon vivant was in 1674

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Cite this Entry

“Bon vivant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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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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