bo·​nus ˈbō-nəs How to pronounce bonus (audio)
: something in addition to what is expected or strictly due: such as
: money or an equivalent given in addition to an employee's usual compensation
: a premium (as of stock) given by a corporation to a purchaser of its securities, to a promoter, or to an employee
: a government payment to war veterans
: a sum in excess of salary given to an athlete for signing with a team

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Cheesecake Factory Buy $50 in gift cards and get a $10 bonus card. Leada Gore |, al, 14 May 2023 Many of Narvekar’s top lieutenants also saw higher earnings: Chief Investment Officer Richard W. Slocum took home over $8.3 million in 2021 (including future bonuses), after earning about $865,000 in 2020. Globe Staff,, 12 May 2023 That’s on top of bonuses that were already given for holidays and flight reassignments. Chris Morris, Fortune, 12 May 2023 For every $150 gift card purchased through May 15, purchasers will receive an additional $25 bonus digital gift card. Cheryl V. Jackson, The Indianapolis Star, 8 May 2023 The county’s affordable housing plan incentivizes developers to include units by allowing bonus density. Washington Post Staff, Washington Post, 6 May 2023 Oil and gas execs are hoarding their bonuses and profits on the backs of working people who have to drive to earn a living despite the price at the pump. Gabe Kaminsky, Washington Examiner, 5 May 2023 This duffle has corner protectors to prevent the unwanted wear and tear that typically accompanies travel—extra bonus points right there. Casey Clark, Popular Mechanics, 5 May 2023 He was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for cash and international bonus pool space on April 9 after being designated for assignment. Journal Sentinel, 5 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bonus.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin, literally, good — more at bounty

First Known Use

1759, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bonus was in 1759

Dictionary Entries Near bonus

Cite this Entry

“Bonus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


bo·​nus ˈbō-nəs How to pronounce bonus (audio)
: something given to somebody (as a worker) in addition to what is usual or owed

from Latin bonus "good" — related to bona fide, bonbon, boon entry 2, bounty

More from Merriam-Webster on bonus

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!