bon vivant

[ bonvee-vahnt; French bawnvee-vahn ]
/ ˈbɒn viˈvɑnt; French bɔ̃ viˈvɑ̃ /
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noun, plural bons vi·vants [bonvee-vahnts; French bawnvee-vahn]. /ˈbɒn viˈvɑnts; French bɔ̃ viˈvɑ̃/.
a person who lives luxuriously and enjoys good food and drink.
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Origin of bon vivant

From French
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does bon vivant mean?

A bon vivant is a person who enjoys living “the good life”—a connoisseur of food and drink and of the other things that go along with a life of leisure and luxury.

Bon vivant comes from French, in which it’s used as an adjective that literally means “good living.”

The term bon vivant is typically associated with the kind of sociable person who’s good at entertaining and can keep the party going with a good story. However, the term is sometimes used to suggest that such a person is overly indulgent.

Sometimes, bon vivant is written with a hyphen, as bon-vivant.

Example: The hostess was a charming bon vivant who made sure to keep the food coming and the music playing late into the evening.

Where does bon vivant come from?

The first records of bon vivant in English come from around the 1700s. It’s a direct borrowing from French, in which bon means “good” and vivant means “living.” Vivant comes from a root meaning “alive” that is also the basis of English words like vivacious, which means “spirited” or “lively.” In French, bon vivant is used as an adjective in a phrase that refers to a “good living man.” In English, though, bon vivant does not specifically refer to a man, and it is only used as a noun, not an adjective.

Bon vivants are passionate about “living well.” They aim to live life to the fullest and enjoy its finer things. This usually means indulging in food and drink, especially in the company of others. In this sense, a bon vivant can be called a connoisseur or a gourmand. However, those words often specifically indicate a focus on eating and drinking, whereas a bon vivant is looking for good times all around. The best synonym for bon vivant might be the equally elegant epicurean.

A very similar synonym is bon viveur, but that term is not based on an actual French term.

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What are some other forms related to bon vivant?

  • bon vivants (plural)

What are some synonyms for bon vivant?

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


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

How is bon vivant used in real life?

The term bon vivant is typically used in a positive way to refer to someone who’s been places and done things and can tell a good story about it over a nice dinner.



Try using bon vivant!

Is bon vivant used correctly in the following sentence? 

Last weekend’s party was positively bon vivant!

How to use bon vivant in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for bon vivant

bon vivant
/ French (bɔ̃ vivɑ̃) /

noun plural bons vivants (bɔ̃ vivɑ̃)
a person who enjoys luxuries, esp good food and drinkAlso called (but not in French): bon viveur (ˌbɒn viːˈvɜː)

Word Origin for bon vivant

literally: good living (man)
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