bon·​i·​face | \ ˈbä-nə-fəs How to pronounce boniface (audio) , -ˌfās \

Definition of boniface

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: the proprietor of a hotel, nightclub, or restaurant


biographical name (1)
Bon·​i·​face | \ ˈbä-nə-fəs How to pronounce Boniface (audio) , -ˌfās \

Definition of Boniface (Entry 2 of 3)

Saint circa 675–754 Wynfrid or Wynfrith English missionary in Germany


biographical name (2)

Definition of Boniface (Entry 3 of 3)

name of 9 popes: especially VIII (Benedict Caetani) circa 1235(or 1240)–1303 (pope 1294–1303)

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Synonyms for boniface

Synonyms: Noun

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Boniface has been the name of eight popes, one antipope, and one saint, but none of those had anything (directly) to do with the English word boniface. The word boniface comes from the name of the jovial innkeeper in George Farquhar's 1707 play "The Beaux' Stratagem," the story of two penniless rakes who determine that one of them must find and marry a wealthy lady. Farquhar's play made more than one contribution to the English language. The name of the character of Lady Bountiful is a byword for a generous (and often conspicuously so) philanthropist. Farquhar, incidentally, never got to see the influence his play had on the lexicon. He finished "The Beaux' Stratagem" on his deathbed, and died on the night of its third performance.

Examples of boniface in a Sentence

Noun the operator of the inn is the very epitome of the genial and gracious boniface

First Known Use of boniface


1742, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for boniface


Boniface, innkeeper in The Beaux' Stratagem (1707) by George Farquhar

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The first known use of boniface was in 1742

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Cite this Entry

“Boniface.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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