[buh-nan-zuh, boh-]


a rich mass of ore, as found in mining.
a source of great and sudden wealth or luck; a spectacular windfall: The play proved to be a bonanza for its lucky backers.

Origin of bonanza

1835–45, Americanism; < Spanish: literally, smooth sea (hence, good luck, rich vein of ore), nasalized variant of Medieval Latin bonacia, equivalent to Latin bon(us) good + (mal)acia calm sea < Greek malakía softness (malak(ós) soft + -ia -ia) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bonanza

Contemporary Examples of bonanza

Historical Examples of bonanza

  • That ain't any bonanza country any more; 1901 ain't like 1870; don't figure on that.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • When they reached Bonanza the sun was low, and when they were off San Lucar it had begun to sink.

    Fair Margaret

    H. Rider Haggard

  • Then, at last, as if in despair, I mentioned this bit on Bonanza.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service

  • Staked twenty-two on Bonanza and sold out yesterday to the Syndicate.

    Colorado Jim

    George Goodchild

  • Why, man, the old mine must have been a bonanza, if it all panned out stuff like this!

British Dictionary definitions for bonanza



a source, usually sudden and unexpected, of luck or wealth
US and Canadian a mine or vein rich in ore

Word Origin for bonanza

C19: from Spanish, literally: calm sea, hence, good luck, from Medieval Latin bonacia, from Latin bonus good + malacia dead calm, from Greek malakia softness
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

Word Origin and History for bonanza

1844, American English, from Spanish bonanza "a rich lode," originally "fair weather at sea, prosperity," from Vulgar Latin *bonacia, from Latin bonus "good" (see bene-).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper