Definition of bonny in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbɒni/
(also bonnie)

adjective (bonnier, bonniest)

chiefly Scottish & Northern English
1Attractive or beautiful: a bonny lass
More example sentences
  • From here we can also see cars blitzing their way north as the A9 snakes through some of Scotland's most spectacular scenery close to bonny Loch Alvie.
  • We were driving around Speyside the other day looking for bonny purple heather and found that the hillsides were blanketed with the dull cerise of willow-herb.
  • ‘You've come a long way,’ said Naomi, the casting director's assistant who was bonny and bright.
beautiful, attractive, handsome, pretty, gorgeous, good-looking, nice-looking, well favoured, fetching, prepossessing, ravishing, stunning;
lovely, nice, sweet, cute, appealing, endearing, adorable, lovable, charming, dear, darling, delightful, winsome, winning;
blooming, bouncing, healthy, fine
informal divine, drop-dead gorgeous, easy on the eye, adorbs
Australian/New Zealand informal beaut
literary beauteous
archaic fair, comely, taking
1.1(Of a baby) plump and healthy-looking.
Example sentences
  • We have events for all generations from bonny baby, kids fancy dress, children's tug-o-war to our most appropriately dressed lady and gentleman.
  • There will be a dog show at 1pm, bonny baby at 2.30 pm, fancy dress at 3pm followed by Best Dressed Lady at 3.30 pm.
  • She now holds her bonny baby as if he is the only light in her life.
1.2Sizeable (usually expressing approval): it’s worth a thousand pounds, a bonny sum
More example sentences
  • Keith believes his Grandpa got less than £5000 for the farm (still, a bonny sum in the early 50s).


(my bonny) literary
Used as a form of address for one’s beloved or baby.
Example sentences
  • My bonnie lies over the ocean.
  • My bonnie lies over the sea.
  • So bring back me bonnie to moi.





Example sentences
  • Round, plump or normal-sized women have become the secretly desired, the quiet lust of men pushed towards boniness rather than bonniness.
  • Equally effective is Brigge's anxious scrutiny of newborn Samuel, who flutters between listless near-death and bubble-blowing bonniness.
  • The spoken performances, though, lack the bonniness of Branagh's earlier Shakespeare romance, ‘Much Ado About Nothing,’.


Late 15th century: perhaps related to Old French bon 'good'.

  • bonus from late 18th century:

    This was probably originally Stock Exchange slang, coming from Latin bonus ‘good’. Very recently—too recently to get into most dictionaries—the word malus has been recorded for a fine or penalty, based on Latin malus ‘bad’ on the pattern of bonus. The French form of bonus, bon may lie behind the mainly Scottish bonny ‘good, fair’. Bounty (Middle English) goes back to the same source. See also bonanza

Words that rhyme with bonny

Bonnie, Connie, johnny, Lonnie, Ronnie, Suwannee

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: bonny

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