noun, plural bo·nus·es.

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

Synonyms for bonus

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bonus

Contemporary Examples of bonus

Historical Examples of bonus

  • 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

  • The agitation for a bonus therefore continues in the United States.

British Dictionary definitions for bonus



something given, paid, or received above what is due or expecteda Christmas bonus for all employees
mainly British an extra dividend allotted to shareholders out of profits
insurance, British a dividend, esp a percentage of net profits, distributed to policyholders either annually or when the policy matures
British a slang word for a bribe

Word Origin for bonus

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

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