Word of the Month: Bonhomie


David Zapatka

While speaking with friends from out of town at a recent bridge tournament, I heard this description of a mutual friend who was not present, “It’s so refreshing to have a man of his character in our game. He exudes a fresh and easy bonhomie.” Being unfamiliar with the word bonhomie, I had to ask for the word to be repeated. Once I had it, I asked about its meaning. That conversation led to this month’s word of the month, bonhomie.

Bonhomie – noun bon·ho·mie |  bä-nə-ˈmē good-natured; easy or exuberant friendliness; cheerful; geniality; frank and simple good-heartedness; approachable and affable disposition; an atmosphere of good cheer; a feeling of friendliness among a group of people.

First known use – late 18th century. Origin and etymology – from French, bonhomme ‘good fellow.’

Examples of bonhomie used in a sentence:

“A national security conference in Canada brings out the bonhomie among U.S. senators.” Politics In Halifax As Democratic and GOP Senators Seek Common Ground on National Security by Tim Mak for The Daily Beast, November 22, 2014.

“At the Globes, the night is all bonhomie, backslapping and table-hopping.” The Gaudy, Gauche and Sometimes Corrupt Greatness of the Golden Globes by Richard Rushfield for The Daily Beast, January 16, 2012.

“There was a good deal of bonhomie and pleasantry in his conversation.” Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee by (His Son) Captain Robert E. Lee

“‘Certainly, my dear fellow,’ said Hoffland with a delightful ease and bonhomie.” The Youth of Jefferson by J. E. Cooke

“His manner was full of bonhomie now, and had no trace of affectation.” Aunt Rachel by David Christie Murray

“And yet she was so good-natured, so full of fun and bonhomie!” A Modern Tomboy by L. T. Meade

Examples of bonhomie in the news:

“After the canned tributes and lame jokes, the flourishes of gallantry and strained bonhomie among the senators, all that mattered was the image being sent forth by Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” New York Times

“The new TBS sitcom gets mired in crass cultural stereotypes in a misguided attempt to re-create the easy barroom bonhomie of its forerunner.” LA Times

“Lott, friends sport summer best for bonhomie.” Washington Times

Please submit any experiences with bonhomie in your life, any thoughts on this month’s column or any word you may like to share along with your insights and comments to [email protected].