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bon mot

[bon moh; French bawn moh] /ˈbɒn ˈmoʊ; French bɔ̃ ˈmoʊ/
noun, plural bons mots
[bon mohz; French bawn moh] /ˈbɒn ˈmoʊz; French bɔ̃ ˈmoʊ/ (Show IPA)
a witty remark or comment; clever saying; witticism.
Origin of bon mot
1725-35; < French: literally, good word; see boon2, motto
Can be confused
bon mot, mot juste. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bon mot
Historical Examples
  • There was a bon mot, which blazed with all the soft brilliancy of sheet lightning.

    The Young Duke Benjamin Disraeli
  • A bon mot which was carefully copied into The English Mercury.

  • I must leave behind me the remembrance of a bon mot, or I shall be forgotten.

    Devereux, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • The Earl answered by a bon mot, and turned to a bust of Caracalla.

    Eugene Aram, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • It seems reasonable to give Fontenelle credit for this bon mot.

    All About Coffee William H. Ukers
  • Goethe said that every bon mot of his had cost a purse of gold.

    The Jungle Upton Sinclair
  • The bon mot I was about to utter apropos of an opera I had never heard has left my mind entirely.

    Bizarre Lawton Mackall
  • He expanded into fantastic anecdote, and mingled many a bon mot with the blue spirals of his mounting cigarette smoke.

    The Green Carnation

    Robert Smythe Hichens
  • Horace Walpole mentions this bon mot in some of his letters; I forget to whom he attributes it.

  • One continually finds somewhere an original idea—sometimes even a bon mot, which startles one by its pointedness.

    Esmeralda Frances Hodgson Burnett
British Dictionary definitions for bon mot

bon mot

/French bɔ̃ mo/
noun (pl) bons mots (bɔ̃ mo)
a clever and fitting remark
Word Origin
French, literally: good word
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bon mot

1735, French, "good saying, " literally "good word," from bon "good" + mot (12c.), from Vulgar Latin muttum, from Latin muttire "to mutter, mumble, murmur" (see mutter).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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