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[boh-nuh s] /ˈboʊ nəs/
noun, plural bonuses.
something given or paid over and above what is due.
a sum of money granted or given to an employee, a returned soldier, etc., in addition to regular pay, usually in appreciation for work done, length of service, accumulated favors, etc.
something free, as an extra dividend, given by a corporation to a purchaser of its securities.
a premium paid for a loan, contract, etc.
something extra or additional given freely:
Every purchaser of a pound of coffee received a box of cookies as a bonus.
Origin of bonus
1765-75; < Latin: good
1. reward, honorarium, gift.
Synonym Study
1, 2. Bonus, bounty, premium refer to something extra beyond a stipulated payment. A bonus is a gift to reward performance, paid either by a private employer or by a government: a bonus based on salary; a soldiers' bonus. A bounty is a public aid or reward offered to stimulate interest in a specific purpose or undertaking and to encourage performance: a bounty for killing wolves. A premium is usually something additional given as an inducement to buy, produce, or the like: a premium received with a magazine subscription. See also present2. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bonus
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • No, what I want to get at is your idea of what should come to you, as a bonus, when I scoop the board.

    The Market-Place Harold Frederic
  • bonus Bill, advocated by Calhoun, 257;vetoed by Madison, 257.

    Union and Democracy

    Allen Johnson
  • To win on first card played a bonus of half the limit hand is given.

    Pung Chow

    Lew Lysle Harr
  • A prince, even, would have been satisfied with such a bonus.

    Louise de la Valliere Alexandre Dumas, Pere
  • In the United States, for instance, a bonus of $10 per ounce was asked for.

British Dictionary definitions for bonus


something given, paid, or received above what is due or expected: a Christmas bonus for all employees
(mainly Brit) an extra dividend allotted to shareholders out of profits
(insurance, Brit) a dividend, esp a percentage of net profits, distributed to policyholders either annually or when the policy matures
(Brit) a slang word for a bribe
Word Origin
C18: from Latin bonus (adj) good
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 bonus

1773, "Stock Exchange Latin" [Weekley], from Latin bonus "good" (adj.); see bene-. The correct noun form would be bonum. In U.S. history the bonus army was tens of thousands of World War I veterans and followers who marched on Washington, D.C., in 1932 demanding early redemption of their service bonus certificates (which carried a maximum value of $625).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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