bon·​ho·​mie ˌbä-nə-ˈmē How to pronounce bonhomie (audio)
: good-natured easy friendliness
an undying bonhomie radiated from herJean Stafford
bonhomous adjective

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English speakers borrowed bonhomie from French, where the word was created from bonhomme, which means "good-natured man" and is itself a composite of two other French words: bon, meaning "good," and homme, meaning "man." That French compound traces to two Latin terms, bonus (meaning "good") and homo (meaning either "man" or "human being"). English speakers have warmly embraced bonhomie and its meaning, but we have also anglicized the pronunciation in a way that may make native French speakers cringe. (We hope they will be good-natured about it!)

Examples of bonhomie in a Sentence

the bonhomie of strangers singing together around a campfire
Recent Examples on the Web Weidenfeld was also a people person, gifted with irrepressible bonhomie and considerable personal charm. Michael Dirda, Washington Post, 18 Aug. 2023 The bonhomie that spurred us to bang pots and pans in solidarity with the pandemic’s essential workers has not helped improve their conditions. Frank Shyong, Los Angeles Times, 17 Aug. 2023 Read full article The bonhomie has not always lasted. Jeff Stein,, 13 Aug. 2023 Likewise, the bonhomie Stewart demonstrates on stage remains as appealing as ever. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Aug. 2023 In conversation, these abrupt transitions from easy bonhomie to enigmatic hostility and back again can be jarring. Patrick Radden Keefe, The New Yorker, 24 July 2023 For all his shift-change bonhomie and diplomacy on the dais, O’Brien can be an abrasive force in the office. Nick Tabor, Washington Post, 19 June 2023 After 51 years of soul-stirring cooking and candlelit bonhomie, Sacha feels more like a private dinner club than a restaurant. Matt Goulding, Travel + Leisure, 7 July 2023 Yu Bin, an expert on Chinese-Russian relations who is a senior fellow at East China Normal University in Shanghai, nonetheless cautioned against reading too much into the shows of bonhomie. Paul Sonne, New York Times, 15 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bonhomie.' 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 bonhomie, from bonhomme good-natured man, from bon good + homme man

First Known Use

1777, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bonhomie was in 1777


Dictionary Entries Near bonhomie

Cite this Entry

“Bonhomie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

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