bo·​nus | \ ˈbō-nəs How to pronounce bonus (audio) \

Definition of bonus

: something in addition to what is expected or strictly due: such as
a : money or an equivalent given in addition to an employee's usual compensation
b : a premium (as of stock) given by a corporation to a purchaser of its securities, to a promoter, or to an employee
c : a government payment to war veterans
d : a sum in excess of salary given to an athlete for signing with a team

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Examples of bonus in a Sentence

As a bonus for good behavior you can stay up late. The product has the added bonus of providing extra vitamins. Staff members were given a bonus for finishing the project on schedule. The company offered bonuses to entice new workers. We receive annual bonuses at the end of the year.
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Recent Examples on the Web

How’s that for a high school graduation gift — a $6.2 million signing bonus from the Tigers? Mike Bianchi,, "ESPN reporter on UCF’s Shaquem, Shaquill Griffin: ‘You want to write stories that make people feel good’ | Commentary," 7 June 2019 Case in point: Maurice Hampton, a two-sport LSU commit, turned down a $1.8 million signing bonus from several teams in this draft, his father said. Phil Thompson,, "5 takeaways from the White Sox's 2019 draft, including some Andrew Vaughn doubt and potential middle-round gems," 6 June 2019 McCoy's one-year deal is reportedly worth $8 million, including a $4 million signing bonus and incentives that could bring the total value up to as much as $10.25 million. Jonas Shaffer,, "Ravens free-agent target Gerald McCoy reportedly signing with Panthers," 3 June 2019 Activision offered former CFO Dennis Durkin, who had shifted to the post of chief corporate officer in 2017, a signing bonus of $3.75 million to return to the CFO role. Ezequiel Minaya, WSJ, "Silicon Valley Needs a Few Good CFOs," 24 May 2019 Most have already clinched much more because finishing in the top six spots in each conference also comes with a bonus. Tim Reynolds, The Seattle Times, "Playoff time: 10 things to know for the NBA postseason," 12 Apr. 2019 Visiting the fish-pickling plant was part of that effort — with the bonus of being a great publicity stunt complete with multiple photo ops. Alex Ward, Vox, "Fox News appallingly fell for North Korean propaganda," 10 Aug. 2018 The highest Seminoles player taken in the draft, the switch-hitting catcher received a bonus of $854,000, well above the slot value of $632,700, according to Roy Parry,, "Seattle Mariners, FSU's Cal Raleigh reach deal before deadline," 7 July 2018 Best Buy and American Express use it to dole out employee bonuses. Inti Pacheco, WSJ, "The Dubious Management Fad Sweeping Corporate America," 15 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bonus.' 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 bonus

1759, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bonus

Latin, literally, good — more at bounty

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Statistics for bonus

Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bonus

The first known use of bonus was in 1759

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More Definitions for bonus



English Language Learners Definition of bonus

: something good that is more than what was expected or required
: an extra amount of money that is given to an employee


bo·​nus | \ ˈbō-nəs How to pronounce bonus (audio) \

Kids Definition of bonus

: something given to someone (as a worker) in addition to what is usual or owed

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More from Merriam-Webster on bonus

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bonus

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bonus

Spanish Central: Translation of bonus

Nglish: Translation of bonus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bonus for Arabic Speakers

Comments on bonus

What made you want to look up bonus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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