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Definition: cheerful and easy-going friendliness.

Pronunciation: bon-ho-mie


The Latin homo, standing for man, is very evident with this word, as well as the French bon which stands for good. The French bonhomme, standing for a good man, entered the English language in the early 1800’s with a slight alternation in meaning.

Why this word?

Oh for so many reasons! First and foremost, it was suggested to us by C.O, an avid reader! And yes, I swear he exists although all I have to prove it with are a few emails signed by these initials.

Now let’s get down to the word itself. While the actual word is derived from a French term, we absolutely cannot dismiss the fact that it contains the all-so-African-American HOMIE. Homie (or homy) is a term widely found in American urban culture slang, which is a shortened version of “homeboy”, introduced to the English language by 19th century African-Americans who then began migrating to the cities in quite large amounts. Homeboy simply refers to a male friend from back home. Although alternations in exact meaning are visible nowadays as well, homie is always a positive word; you will never hear something like “Amanda!!! Tell this HOMIE to leave this house right now!!”. No, that’s not an option.

This combination, of the French bon (my mind really calls out for bonbons and croissants [although less related]) with the so-American homie is puzzling and intriguing in both sound and perception!

Now just say the word- bonhomie. It has a lovely, soft, friendly and fun sound to it, such that really makes you feel its meaning.

How to use bonhomie in a sentence?

Bonhomie is a noun, describing the natural, simple and easy going friendliness. The sort of you don’t need to work for as it is just there.

In his “Biography for Beginners, John Stuart Mill”, Edmund Clerihew Bentley wrote that “John Stuart Mill, by a mighty effort of will, overcame his natural bonhomie and wrote ‘Principles of Political Economy“. I love this quote!

Here is another quote that went really viral in ‘bonhomie’ accounts: “Though I consider myself a cheery soul, this man made me look like a miserable curmudgeon in comparison to his genuine bonhomie“.


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Written by Victoria Sheinkin

Victoria Sheinkin is a writer, content editor, translator and chief editor for Speaking three and a half languages, she holds two BAs from the Tel Aviv university- Communication and jounalism, English literature and linguistics.


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