bon appétit

[ baw na-pey-tee ]
/ bɔ na peɪˈti /
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interjection French.
(I wish you) a hearty appetite.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does bon appétit mean?

Bon appétit is a way of telling someone to enjoy what they are about to eat.

Bon appétit comes from French and literally means “good appetite.” It is one of the most common things to say to people before they eat. Like other French terms that have been borrowed into English, it’s often used to sound a bit fancy (it’s at least classier than saying chow down or dig in).

Bon appétit is correctly pronounced without the final t: baw nah-pey-TEE.

Example: You have before you a terrine of smoked cauliflower with truffle jus and microgreens—bon appétit!

Where does bon appétit come from?

The first records of the use of bon appétit in English come from the 1860s. It is borrowed directly from French, in which bon means “good” and appétit means “appetite.” The word bon appears in other common English terms that have been borrowed from French, such as bon voyage.

Famous food personality Julia Child helped to popularize French cooking and cuisine in the U.S. through her TV show The French Chef, which she always ended by saying “Bon appétit!” Her use of the phrase reflected its association with French food culture and fine dining in general. Today, use of the phrase has spread all over the world.

It might seem strange to wish someone a good appetite when they’re obviously ready to eat anyway, but what you’re really saying is that you hope they enjoy it as much as possible (food tastes best when you’re really hungry, right?). Enjoy! is another very common but more casual way of saying the same thing.

Bon appétit is still most commonly used in the traditional way: before a meal, especially a fancy one. But it is also often used humorously in situations that aren’t exactly a five-course meal. For example, if someone saw you buying a candy bar out of a vending machine for a quick meal, they might say bon appétit to be funny.

Did you know ... ?

What are some synonyms for bon appétit?

What are some words that share a root or word element with bon appétit

What are some words that often get used in discussing bon appétit?


How is bon appétit used in real life?

Bon appétit is a very common way of wishing people a good meal.



Try using bon appétit!

True or False?

Bon appétit literally translates to “good food.”

How to use bon appétit in a sentence