Word of the Day : December 21, 2017

boniface

play
noun BAH-nuh-fuss

Definition

: the proprietor of a hotel, nightclub, or restaurant

Did You Know?

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' Strategem, 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 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' Strategem on his deathbed, and died on the night of its third performance.


Examples

"Vince Bommarito, boniface of Tony's restaurant at 410 Market Street, said last week was one of his busiest in years and that this week is shaping up to look the same." — Deb Peterson, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 18 Oct. 2011

"In 1901, a correspondent writing to a local paper about the pubs of Cardiff said … that its former name was Winstones, having been kept by the late Alderman John Winstone, 'a rare old bluff gentleman who, for some years, like a good many more bonifaces, was a member of our local parliament.'" — Brian Lee, WalesOnline, 20 Mar. 2014



Test Your Vocabulary

Fill in the blanks to complete a word for an English class of landed gentry or landed proprietors in the past: s _ _ ir _ a _ c _ y.

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